What sort of Brexit?

I’ll be taking a break from the blog over the next week while I have a summer rest (I may pop in if something interesting happens, but I’m going to try not to), but before I go a quick pointer to something I wrote over on the YouGov website on what the public think about Brexit.

The type of Brexit the public want is a tricky subject to poll. It will obviously be one of the dominant issues in British politics over the next few years, yet we also know so little of it. We don’t yet know with any confidence what the government’s aims or negotiating position will be, nor what other European countries will be willing to offer (or what they will want in return). Public opinion will be one of the limitations upon the government’s negotiations so it’s certainly important, but it’s hard to measure it at this stage when people have so little information about what’s on offer.

We tried to explore the issue in two ways. The first was to ask whether people thought various things would be acceptable trade-offs in exchange for continued British free trade with the EU. That suggests that the public would accept having to follow some EU trade rules, could be persuaded on immigration (33% think freedom of movement is desirable anyway, 19% a price worth paying, 33% a deal-breaker), but would object to Britain making a financial contribution to the EU (41% think it would be fine or a price worth paying, 44% think it would be a deal-breaker).

However, taking things individually risks being a little misleading. When it comes to it a deal will be a package of measures and will be judged as a whole. On that basis, I think the questions that present people with various scenarios and ask them to judge them as a whole are more enlightening.

By 44% to 32% people thought it would be bad for Britain if we simply left and had no trade deal with the remainder of the EU. A Norway-type deal, with Britain joining EFTA and maintaining free trade with EU in exchange for free-movement, a financial contribution and following trade rules is seen a little less negatively (35% good, 38% bad)… but perhaps more importantly, by 42% to 32% people would see it as not seen as honouring the result of the referendum. Finally, we asked about a Canada-type deal, where there is no freedom of movement or financial contribution, but only a limited free trade deal that excludes services. That was seen as both honouring the result of the referendum, and as positive for Britain.

Of course negotiations haven’t yet started and the actual deals that end upon on the table may very well differ from these examples. I suspect views are not very deeply held yet, and people may very well change their minds when deals start to take shape and politicians and the media start to debate them. The public’s starting point, however, seems to be that a limited trade deal is both the best solution and a solution that respects the referendum result. We shall see how that changes once the negotiations actually begin.

The full tabs are on the website here.


920 Responses to “What sort of Brexit?”

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  1. Funtypippin

    I think a black hole passed through the Internet and created a terrible time warp in high particles, party leaders and participants of polling fly about which eventually settle a new world order.

    Or Just a bottle too many Chablis.

  2. CATMANJEFF

    Yes, have supported Middlesex since I was seven (1947) that anna mirabilis for Middlesex batsmen! Saw a Compton hundred that year, one of 18.

    I agree the Middlesex v Yorkshire game could be the championship clincher for one or the other.

    Sorry to hear Gillespie is leaving Yorkshire he has done a great job for them IMO.

    Incidently I own a Yorkshire tie, won from a Yorkshire member while watching the two teams battling it out in Yorkshire many years ago

  3. It is also weird that PC and SNP are alternatives …

    Mind SNP also stands for single nucleotide polymorphisms so it is very fitting.

  4. Just to add: SNP in genetics is pronounced snip (it is the most common type of genes variation among humans).

  5. @toh

    I meant to say that the ONS produces a range of economic indicators such as GVA per capita, employment and unemployment rates and so on at country and regional level which provide interesting factual benchmarks for some aspects of Scotland’s economy. The Ernst and Young annual reports on UK inward investment are also informative.

  6. LASZLO
    “Just to add: SNP in genetics is pronounced snip (it is the most common type of genes variation among humans).”

    And also the most common way of ending it among dogs and horses.

  7. SEA CHANGE
    “The Referendum was a simple binary choice. Remain in the EU or Leave the EU. That is what people voted on.”

    Actually, no they didn’t. They voted on packages, on the Leaves side on taking back 350 bn to put into the NHS and lowering net immigration to the tens of thousands.
    On the Remains side, er um….lowering net immgration anyway but continuing to benefit from unfettered and zero tarriff traditing, continued ERASMUS\ and subsidised Chelsea tractors for the daughters of Scottish lairds.
    Both conspectuses were among the most dishonest and unresearched in the history of politics, and put forward by politicians who were unable to provide any planned or researched basis for the consequences.

  8. “Canada-type deal”? That one was started under the Stephen Harper Conservatives 7 years ago. There is now a very different government under Justin Trudeau and the trade minister stated in July when she was in London that, “We put the free movement of labour at the heart of all our trade deals.” So, I guess that one is off the menu too. #scramblingforadeal

  9. Any attempt to row back on the referendum result will further damage the establishment parties.
    []
    I think a massive rise in the UKIP vote would occurs. This would damage Labour in their Northern and provisional Strongholds in particular.

    I’m not exactly disputing this, but I’d have it down as an open issue. Polling prior to the referendum campaign suggested that Europe was a low-salience issue for most voters and I’m not convinced that has changed yet, although it may do so as the consequences of the Brexit vote unfold.

    As an aside, I think one has to treat polls about the importance of issues with caution. In 2015 the issues people said were important to them were also, mostly, the ones on which they said Labour had the best policies or was most trustworthy. It seems that the economy – and perhaps also leadership – can trump everything. In a sense that’s logical enough – a lower percentage tax take in a thriving economy might mean more money for health and education than a higher percentage tax take in a sluggish economy.

    There’s also plenty of evidence that politicians aren’t trusted and I don’t think the referendum result has done anything to change that. I wouldn’t bet against a cynical electorate shrugging its shoulders and saying ‘Nothing ever changes anyway, and at least we got rid of that smarmy Cameron and his gang’.

    The mismatch between the ‘We’re all in it together rhetoric’ and the clear evidence that Cameron and his ilk weren’t remotely close to struggling was, I think, very corrosive. May has a much less conspicuously successful lifestyle and that may draw some of the venom.

  10. @JOHN PILGRIM

    I disagree.

    It was a binary choice. In or Out. Every vote equal.

    Unlike a general election. Which is constituency based with multiple candidates and tactical voting too.

    You cannot compare the two which was my original point.

    As to why people voted the way they did, there are obviously a plethora of reasons. It really doesn’t matter. The decision has been taken after an exhaustive and exhausting 4 month referendum campaign. The People have spoken. The servants of the People must now enact their will, which is to leave the EU, or likely face some extremely unpleasant repercussions at the ballot box.

  11. HIRETON

    Many thanks , that’s helpful.

  12. SEA CHANGE

    Totally agree with your last post, the referendum was quite clear and I believe May sees it clearly as well.

  13. SEA CHANGE
    If people voted mainly to leave the EU, yes. If they voted in order to get back 350 bn to invest in the EU, or to permit the Government to reduce net immigration to below 100,000 , no.
    The Leave side campaign was run on a manifesto, and a false one.

  14. @John Pilgrim

    I think you need to give Leave voters more credit than you are.

    I voted Leave knowing the £350 m (not bn) figure was nonsense, and we as a country need to maintain significant immigration levels gping forward.

    I also thought the Remain campaign used bogus arguments too.

    In summary, both official sides engaged poor arguments, and in their hearts I suspect voters knew this.

    They still voted Leave quite clearly.

  15. Hello JOHN PILGRIM.
    I voted Leave, along with ‘Labour Leave’ for many reasons, nothing to do with Budget figures.

  16. @John Pilgrim

    The biggest porkies were told by the Remain campaign. Here is the Treasury report issued in May:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/524967/hm_treasury_analysis_the_immediate_economic_impact_of_leaving_the_eu_web.pdf

    On page 9 they say the following:

    quote

    “A vote to leave would cause an immediate and profound economic shock creating instability and uncertainty which would be compounded by the complex and interdependent negotiations that would follow. The central conclusion of the analysis is that the effect of this profound shock would be to push the UK into recession and lead to a sharp rise in unemployment.”

    end quote

    And here is their projection for 2017/18

    quote

    Immediate impact of a vote to leave the EU on the UK (% difference from base level unless specified otherwise)

    Shock scenario, Severe shock scenario

    GDP -3.6% -6.0%
    CPI inflation rate (percentage points) +2.3 +2.7
    Unemployment rate (percentage points) +1.6 +2.4
    Unemployment (level) +520,000 +820,000
    Average real wages -2.8% -4.0%
    House prices -10% -18%
    Sterling exchange rate index -12% -15%
    Public sector net borrowing (£ billion)b +£24 billion +£39 billion

    a Peak impact over two years. Unemployment level rounded to the nearest 10,000.
    b Fiscal year 2017-18.

    end quote

    Pretty much the only thing they’re right on is the exchange rate. Even the BoE’s prediction that bond yields would rise following the vote proved incorrect (they fell as investors hurried into gilts because they thought the impact on the EU would be worse).

    How many scared people voted Remain because they believed this claptrap? I’d say at a minimum about 5%, possibly a lot more. Because the EU isn’t popular and the only reason Remain even got 48% was by spewing a bunch of bs.

  17. CHRISLANE

    Did Jeremy Vote to Leave?

  18. JOHN PILGRIM

    CMJ is right, I too voted Leave, knowing the £350m was nonsense but the actual figure wasn’t the point. I heard a Remain campaigner arguing about this during the campaign and astonishingly, he managed to put the word “only” in front of £180m per week. What did he, and you for that matter, expect the electorate to think?

    “Oh, it’s not £350m, it’s “only” £180m. Well, that’s all right then. Here am I on £17,000 p.a. for a 50-hour week, with a young child, a mortgage, and my pay and job being continually threatened by highly qualified but cheap labour from Eastern Europe but as the government is “only” sending £180m per week to the EU, I don’t mind at all”.

  19. In Scottish “news”

    Davidson praises Dugdale for hiring Scottish Daily Mail (FFS!) political editor, Alan Roden, as SLab’s new communications director.

    Meanwhile, she has hired the Herald’s political editor, Magnus Gardham, to a similar post.

    Personally, I favour TV political journalists like Bernard Ponsonby (STV) and Brian Taylor (BBC), where you simply don’t know where their political loyalties lie (if anywhere) or press commentators like Ian McWhirter, who have a stance, but resolutely refuse to take a party line.

    The ease of transfer between (supposedly) objective journalists and political party jobs seems very unhealthy.

  20. According to Conservative Home activist, 50k have joined or re-joined the Conservative Party since the EUref. It isn’t clear if that is primarily because of the leave vote, the replacement of Cameron and acolytes or because of Mrs May’s promise to restore Grammar schools.

  21. Syzygy

    Good, if more people are joining political parties.

    Although, since the Tories haven’t given any membership figures since 2013, it’s hard to know if they are still the 2nd largest membership party in the UK – or the 3rd.

  22. Clearly both sides lied in the referendum and I suspect that this merely deepened the cynicism of voters.

    That said, the remain vote was a vote for the status quo and thus, to an extent, a vote for a known quantity. The leave vote was a vote against the status quo. Many people may have had no clear idea of what they wanted in its stead. other groups probably wanted very different and arguably incompatible things and yet others wanted things that were either highly ill-defined or had no logical connection with the EU like a good kicking for the powers that be).

    My guess is that just as we are always governed by a party for which the majority of the country have not voted, so we will end up in this case with an option that most people won’t want either..

  23. Test again

  24. Barring the leader of the PCS Union from voting in the Lab leadership X-Factor contest, has all the hallmarks of partisans so enthused at winning a battle, that they have forgotten the war.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/trade-union-leader-mark-serwotka-banned-from-voting-in-labour-leadership-election-10471851.html

    Labour may well categorise Serotka, along with 1,900 Greens as being ideologically lacking to have a vote, but the decision seems not to be very ept (I demur from describing their decision as inept).

    Once Lab NEC have decided on having a leader, have they given thought to who they would then want to vote for them – and whose funding they would seek?

  25. I would agree that it is currently unfeasible and undemocratic not to proceed on the basis that we are leaving the EU, and all the practical ramifications of organising a deal that this involves. Whether or not the vote was technically binding or not is not an issue, nor is the fact that the margin for leave was small. If a large margin for change was required, then this should have been legislated for.

    Whatever the veracity of the arguments used on both sides, we are currently assumed to be leaving the EU.

    I would agree with those who say there would be uproar if this was ignored, as this would be fundamentally undemocratic and morally wrong. That said, it doesn’t then automatically follow that the situation will be the same in a couple of years time, and this really is the main point of contention I have with those claiming ‘Brexit means Brexit’.

    People have a right to change their minds, and no one really knows whether public opinion will be more, less or unchanged in their attitude to Brexit once a deal takes shape. There is, in my view, a reasonable chance that more people would feel comfortable with leaving, for example. I would also imagine that there will be flows in both directions, depending on circumstance and the deal itself. A deal that maintains single market access, for example, at the expense of few new controls on migration, could get many remainers support, while infuriating many leavers – but which way would they vote in a repeat referendum? In a binary choice, as was pointed out above, how do committed leavers vote if the exit deal isn’t the one they want?

    There are multiple and numerous possibilities, and May looks like she wants to string out the process as long as she can, possible to see what the options are. People change their minds, countries change their views, and election results are reversed. This is all very normal, and so I don’t think it is remotely incompatible to agree that we are currently heading for the exit, but also to state that there remains a chance that we might never get there.

  26. @Candy – I was extremely dismayed by the remain campaign, and specifically the ludicrously politicized rubbish that poured out of the Treasury and the BoE. It very nearly made me vote leave, but more importantly, Osborne’s political capture of what should have been the more sober government machinery, as with the Indyref, may yet have profound and difficult consequences.

    We are already apparently living in the post factual age, where unshakable beliefs and viewpoints are increasingly being held that are immune from any kind of real, factual scrutiny, and where counter evidence or any form of questioning is dismissed as a conspiracy, ‘the MSM’, of ‘Big Government’.

    These referendum campaigns so debased what should have been a much more balanced civil service that they have created the conditions where no government information can be believed, and the long term ramifications of this are potentially immense.

  27. Alec

    “These referendum campaigns so debased what should have been a much more balanced civil service that they have created the conditions where no government information can be believed”

    Good to see you agreeing that Sir Nicholas McPherson’s idea that the Civil Service could ignore the idea of impartiality, when it felt that the state was under threat, was (and is) a highly dangerous idea.

    It’s not that much different from the revelations in Spycatcher, that MI5 people felt it appropriate to plot to bring down a Labour government.

  28. @Alec
    “People have a right to change their minds, and no one really knows whether public opinion will be more, less or unchanged in their attitude to Brexit once a deal takes shape. There is, in my view, a reasonable chance that more people would feel comfortable with leaving, for example. I would also imagine that there will be flows in both directions, depending on circumstance and the deal itself. A deal that maintains single market access, for example, at the expense of few new controls on migration, could get many remainers support, while infuriating many leavers – but which way would they vote in a repeat referendum? In a binary choice, as was pointed out above, how do committed leavers vote if the exit deal isn’t the one they want?”

    Can’t we all just accept that the decision has been made? Are we supposed to have a new referendum every time the polls change a bit?

  29. OldNat

    I actually think that the banning, expulsion reports over-amplify the chistka in the LP.

    However, it raises various questions. Apart from the strange application of the rules (like being an elected official of a different party less than a year ago, and not challenging the right to vote, so she could vote), one question is the lack of actions.

    Yes, there are twitters by him and by him (all are he), instead of organising a huge rally (as I said the scale of the bans probably don’t justify it, but the newspapers are full of it), it is costly, but you should be able to get 50,000 to turn up, and then use it later for your own purposes (for your own purges). If you can’t organise such a rally (or you are afraid that you would lose votes as a result in the leadership elections), then don’t talk about a movement, and alike.

  30. Oldnat

    Your link was from last year, just shows nothing changes

    Laszlo

    A bit of a cryptic post

  31. @ALEC

    I encourage you to watch at least the first 5 minutes of this snip-it from the BBC 1975 referendum results night (I find the whole 13 minutes absorbing) that I think clearly encapsulates the fundemental argument.

    And why Remain lost this Referendum.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4OWslOroaw

  32. SEA CHANGE.
    Thanks very much for the link; I was nearly twenty then and living in Eccles-Salford and voted with Harold and Jim.

  33. The most telling image in that link, is the display of flags on the wall behind the speakers – France, West Germany, Ireland, Italy, Denmark, Netherlands, Luxembourg and Belgium.

    It made sense in 1975 for the UK to join in a trading partnership with those countries. It makes no sense in 2016 to be part of an attempt to create a federal superstate of 27 countries including so many weak former communist regimes.

  34. SEA CHANGE
    Thanks for the 1975 clip – if only to see Robin Day and Enoch in action.
    Alec and others: Yes, both sdes, inlcuding shockingly the Treasury, put out unfounded and misleading statements – undermining IMV the validity of the referencum as an instrument of democracy.
    However, I think it is right (a) that the electorate will become better informed and major issues and consequences over a two year period (justifying Enoch’s insistence that minds and policies should be changed when cirumstances change); and (b) that the major economic issues of migration as a global process and the needs of the UK economy for the skills and labour provided both by the workshop of the EU and that of the old Commonwealth – both of which we have forged – will become more insistently apparent and beneficial, as the EU 2015 Ageing Report for the UK, based on genuine Treasury expertise and figures, makes apparent http://europa.eu/epc/pdf/ageing_report_2015_en.pdf. An important side issue which will work its way through in the maturing of the electorate is that of the pressure of the young to benefit from the cultural and life experience of continued access to the learning, skills and workplace of Europe, and would be measured in another vote when May gets around to it.

  35. Thank god we never listened to voices such as Peter Mandelson in 2003; “The UK must aim to join the euro by 2007 – we can’t afford not to”.

    We would never have reached this point if we hadn’t – and would probably be bust.

  36. DAVID CARROD
    “It made sense in 1975 for the UK to join in a trading partnership with those countries. It makes no sense in 2016 to be part of an attempt to create a federal superstate of 27 countries including so many weak former communist regimes.”

    One clear intent of the parties joining the Remain campaign was to reform the EU, politically as well as in its financal management, but certainly to continue the strengthening of the former Soviet countries on their borders with Russia, not now to remove any traces of former allegiance but to protect them against the potential for incursions and bullying – long-term support which – together with the removal of territorial conflicts and ambitions in Central Europe – is a major function of the EU. Ask the Baltic States, Poland of the Ukraine whether the UK leaving the Union is with their support.

  37. David Carrod: “It made sense in 1975 for the UK to join in a trading partnership with those countries. It makes no sense in 2016 to be part of an attempt to create a federal superstate of 27 countries including so many weak former communist regimes.”

    The EEC we joined in 1973 included free movement of labour. The biggest exponent and champion of the subsequent changes – including the addition of former Warsaw Pact states and the Single Market – was the UK.

    The EU bed is one that we were instrumental in making; that we now deride our handiwork and refuse to lie in it is justifiably regarded with perplexity, exasperation and considerable hurt by our neighbours who had regarded us as colleagues and friends.

    Anyone is free to fall out with the neighbours, generating bad feeling all round, but the long term consequences are seldom gratifying.

  38. John Pilgrim

    “in another vote when May gets around to it.”

    I think you are deluding yourself John, like so many of the people who voted remain. I am sure May will trigger Art 50 early in the new year which means that we will have left by early 2019.

    I think that during the 2 year negotiation process the electorate will increase their understanding of the issues but unlike you I think they will feel even more justified in leaving the EU than they are now.

  39. Whilst I think Brexit is inevitable I certainly don’t think our younger generations will thank us for it if it means there is no longer a free movement of labour between the UK and the EU.

    This referendum as with the last General Election was won by the over 50’s. They are not the future of this country and it will be interesting to see the fall out following Brexit in the decades ahead.

  40. MIKE PEARCE

    I understand your point but it depends how long the EU itself survives of course.

  41. TOH: “I am sure May will trigger Art 50 early in the new year which means that we will have left by early 2019.”

    My understanding is that A50 can be revoked any time up to the expiry date.

    By early 2019, what Brexit would mean should be much clearer. None of us can know whether that better-defined prospect will prove more or less appealing than the general question posed in the referendum; much will have happened in the meantime. So I can’t see any reason to object to the idea of a second referendum when the choice is clear – except that maybe those keenest on Brexit naturally want to quit while they’re ahead.

  42. @Somerjohn

    You understand incorrectly. There is no mechanism for “uninvoking” A50. It’s a one-way ticket. The only way to stay in the EU after invoking it is to agree terms for staying in with every other member state, each of whom has a veto.

  43. SOMERJOHN

    ” – except that maybe those keenest on Brexit naturally want to quit while they’re ahead.”

    Absolutely I desperately want the UK to save itself as soon as possible. I would be truly amazed if we revoked Ar 50 and I think it would cost the Tories for generations, but nof course you might want that.

  44. You could not make it up.

    Who helped draft Corbyn’s “Digital Manifesto”? Experts in the field? People with relevant experience?

    No. Key contributor Richard Barbrook, who is speaking at the launch, is an academic in the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Languages at the University of Westminster. With absolutely no background at all in computing, computer science, IT or anything else relevant.

    No wonder it is such vacuous and ill-thought out nonsense.

  45. @Robin

    You understand incorrectly. There is no mechanism for “uninvoking” A50. It’s a one-way ticket. The only way to stay in the EU after invoking it is to agree terms for staying in with every other member state, each of whom has a veto.

    This is at least debateable. Some legal analyses suggest that invocation of article 50 is reversible: http://uk.businessinsider.com/brexit-how-does-article-50-work-2016-7

  46. Robin

    Did corbyn say that nasty word too much? The one that starts with D and ends with cracy

  47. @ROBIN
    No wonder it is such vacuous and ill-thought out nonsense.
    —–
    I think you’ve completely missed the point here.

    All this will be paid for by Corbyn’s Magic Money Tree, which is growing in his Islington garden, ready to produce a harvest of £500bn to be given to the National Investment Bank, as soon as he gets into No.10.

  48. TOH

    ” I desperately want the UK to save itself”

    From?………The great demon Migration looming like a vast storm driven cloud over the Eastern horizon ?
    The reason why it is worthwhile looking at the EU 2015 Ageing Report – whose core objective was to inform the EU Parliament and Member States about the long-term benefit of migration in correcting the age-dependency and pension deficit in member, mainly northern, EU states – is that it demonstrates the demographic and statistical linkage of labour movement with GDP, tax and pensions. Comparing the UK with the German ‘country fiche’ its is interesting to see how much more greatly Germany depends on immigrant labour to maintain prosperity and balance – and still ends up 9%, i believe, worse off than the UK in the middle of the century. The comparison made there is on a basis of net UK migration of between 180,000 to 220,000 dimnishing gradually over the years – figures, that is, which are based on ONS and Treasury specialist stats and projections.

  49. David

    But we all know the Magic money tree exists, we saw that when the banks were going down the tubes there was lots of magic money tree funds available to save them

  50. DAVID CARROD
    Well, it’s a Magic Money Tree which is due, I believe, to be fertilized by next to zero interest rates from sovereign funds available on the international money market and used as investment credit, plus increased corporation tax specifically to reinvest in the NHS. I don’t think Corbyn or McDonnell have made any other proposal.

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