A referendum is not like an election. While the two sides of the campaign produced lots of literature supporting their view, there wasn’t anything like a manifesto as such. How could there be, given those leading the campaigns were not those who would end up actually implementing the decision? As far as the referendum was concerned, Brexit did indeed just mean Brexit – no more and no less. Nothing on the ballot paper said it was specifically this sort of Brexit or that sort of Brexit.

This has left a certain void, and one that politicians and others have sought to fill. Naturally, they have largely attempted to do so with their pre-existing prejudices rather than evidence. To listen to some it would appear that Brexit was driven by people who wanted {insert policy idea that I wanted to begin with}. A lot of this has been around how important an issue immigration was to Leave voters, and too what extent this was an anti-immigration vote. The alternative argument is often that the vote was mostly driven by concerns about sovereignty and freedom.

At the simplest level, if you want to know why people voted for something… ask them.

In YouGov’s final poll they asked people to pick which one factor was most important to people in deciding how to vote. Among Leave voters the most popular answer was allowing Britain to act independently (45%), followed by immigration (35%) and the economy (8%). Full tabs are here.

Lord Ashcroft’s poll after the referendum asked leave voters to rank four possible reasons for the vote – sovereignty, immigration, the economy or the risk of future EU integration. 49% of Leave voters picked sovereignty as their first reason (78% as either their first or second answer), 33% of Leave voters picked immigration as their first reason (64% as either their first or second reason). These two issues dominate, but the structure of the question suggests that people couldn’t say “I didn’t care about this issue at all”, so its somewhat limited (tabs are here, the relevant questions are on page 256!)

In both of these examples sovereignty came top, followed by immigration. However, it’s possible that this was down to the particular options the pollster offered or the particular wording used in the question. One way of getting round this issue is to ask it as an open-ended question and allow people to say in their own words why they voted as they did – two other polls did this.

In Ipsos-MORI’s final poll they asked what issues would be important to people in deciding how to vote in the referendum, letting people pick more than one option. The interviewer then picked which category or categories matched their answer most closely. In this case immigration came top among Leave voters, picked by 54% (18% also said the cost of immigration on welfare and 12% said the number of refugees coming to Britain – though given people could choose more than one option these cannot be added together). The next highest option among Leave voters was 32% who said the ability of Britain to pass our own laws, followed by 19% who said the economy and 9% who said jobs.

The pre-election wave of the British Election Study did a similar thing, asking respondents to type in what the most important factor driving their vote was and coding it up later. Taking a word cloud of the responses gives one extremely prominent answer…

wordcloud_leave-1024x575

…but this is actually a little misleading. Once the answers are coded up individually sovereignty comes very narrowly ahead of immigration. Just over 30% of verbatim responses from Leave voters mentioned sovereignty or control in some way, just under 30% mentioned immigration in some way (the word cloud appears as it does because most people who mentioned immigration used the specific word immigration, but people who mentioned sovereignty used a variety of different terms like sovereignty, control, making laws and so on). Suffice to say, immigration and sovereignty were, between them, the main two issues driving the Leave vote.

Referendums and elections are complicated things, and the human beings who vote in them are even more so. Anyone who tries to boil down the referendum to one factor and say “this explains it all” will almost always be wrong. While the order of the two issues differs between polls, all the polling evidence is clear that Leave voters were most concerned about the issues of sovereignty and immigration, and anyone claiming they were motivated by one but not the other is very likely projecting their own views onto the voters.

While they were clearly the dominant issues, there are undoubtedly others too – for example, as John Curtice explores here, there’s a very strong correlation with views on the impact of Brexit on the economy too, so while immigration and sovereignty were strong factors in favour of Leaving, another important factor seems to be that most leave voters did NOT think that Brexit would bring economic damage. I should also give my usual reminder that people are not necessarily very good judges of what makes them vote. We are not particularly rational creatures and the way people vote at referendums and elections is not a dry comparison of policy offers or facts, but often a mixture of vague feelings, bias and heuristics – so things like a lack of trust in the traditional media and “experts” and a perception that the remain campaign were speaking for an out-of-touch establishment rather than ordinary people were probably also factors in driving the Leave vote.

In short – the factors motivating Leave voters are many and varied and 52% of the voters will, by definition, contain people with many, many different views and priorities. However, every effort to ask Leave voters why they voted to leave found sovereignty AND immigration as the clear big issues.


117 Responses to “Was Brexit an anti-immigration vote?”

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  1. And fags.

    G’night all.

  2. I think many would rather say they voted for Brexit over sovereignty than immigration as one makes them come across nicer than the other.

  3. Immigration control is a sub-set of sovereignty.

    The fact we have too many numbers coming in is a symptom of our lack of sovereignty in this area.

  4. is the electorate for local government elections different to that for general elections? is this reflected in you gov polls? and does it explain in part the apparent difference between lib national polling and local government results?

  5. Old Nat

    It really is rich of you to make out the Empire was very much an “English” Empire.
    The Scotch were the driving force behind the expansion of the British Empire and were enthusiastic in so doing – as every schoolboy knows.

  6. I would suggest that some people polled might not say they are bothered about immigration for fear of other people thinking they are racist.

    If they were questioned further, it might become clear that they are actually bothered by increasing population and in particular when immigrants look to bring their own culture to the UK, rather than join in with British culture.

    My Nan was no racist, but she found the changes in the London area very difficult with people from all around the world bringing their cultures with them. This meant that her neighbours were not the people she had known for decades and some of them could not speak clear English. Also the shops were not run by English people and her Doctor was not English.

    Many who voted for Brexit did so because they wanted to see immigration controlled better and a sizeable minority probably want to see some EU nationals going back to their home countries. I have heard a number of people saying that they want to see Eastern Europeans lose rights to stay in the UK.

  7. @Sea Change – “Immigration control is a sub-set of sovereignty.

    The fact we have too many numbers coming in is a symptom of our lack of sovereignty in this area.”

    That’s complete tosh I’m afraid, and I’m surprised you and @Neil A have gone down this route. It shows a fundamental misunderstanding of UK governance and immigration statistics.

    Up until last year, in every single year, the total net migration from non EU countries was greater than the overall net migration figure. In other words, we had 100% sovereignty over sufficient of the overall immigration to create a net decline in migration. Successive Labour and Conservative governments chose not to restrict immigration, and sovereignty had nothing to do with this. Rightly or wrongly, the obvious conclusion would be that immigration was deemed as necessary for the economic function of the country.

    This then brings us onto the meat of AW’s post. We now have evidence that immigration was not the single, overriding factor in the Brexit vote that many claim. We also have evidence that Brexit voters did not think that the economy would be particularly badly affected by leaving the EU.

    Adding these factors all together, one could make a reasonable case that leaving the EU is unlikely to reduce net migration, as we had ample opportunity to turn net migration negative and didn’t. If we do significantly reduce net migration, in line with a minority of referendum voters apparent wishes, not only would be this be against the wider apparent democratic will, but it would also likely lead to economic damage.

    What we don’t know is how many former Brexit voters would react to either the idea that immigration won’t fall on leaving the EU or if it does, the economy will suffer.

    My view on this thread is that AW has effectively exposed much of the hyperbole around the leave vote, and given the findings, particularly the belief among Leave voters that there wouldn’t be any major economic impacts, the case for a confirming vote, once more of these factors become apparent, is overwhelming.

  8. AW

    Thanks a very interesting analysis. Not at all surprised by your conclusion.

  9. I canvassed for Remain. When voters said they were voting Leave they often said it was to “take control back from Brussels”, or simply “take back control”, Follow-up questions as to why were usually answered along the lines of “to cut the number of immigrants.” Some, however, did say it was a matter of principle that Parliament should be sovereign. I have to say that the areas I canvassed have very, very few immigrants – Newtown and Llanidloes in Montgomeryshire..

  10. Reading last nights posts nothing much new appeared, the Remainers are either still in denial about the result, arguing for a soft Brexit or that in the case of the Scottish nationalists, that the referendum result does not apply to them because the breakdown of votes showed that Scotland voted to remain. If Scotland was outside the UK then that would be perfectly reasonable but it’s not as determined by the Scots themselves in a referendum. On the other side few hardy Brexiters continue to hold their own.

    For me the EU referendum was about three things:-

    1. Regaining our sovereignty which includes having control of our borders, and our Courts no longer subject to the ECJ.
    2. Being outside the EU so that we could develop our economy with less constraint. Which IMO will mean a more prosperous UK in the long term.
    3. Leaving the EU before if implodes following the collapse of the Euro.

    Have a good day all, a dry day forecast and much to do.

  11. It highlights the problem of Clegg, Starmer, Clarke et al pushing for a negotiation designed to deliver nothing on sovereignty or immigration. Even if their European allies hold the line in negotiations, and there is turmoil enough to get an Irish style reversal, there will be an awful lot of ill feeling. But until I hear them suggesting compromise positions, that seems to be the logical end point if their manoeuvres are successful.

    At Tom Harris wrote in The Telegraph, people didn’t vote for a Brexit of no restrictions on free movement, continued contributions, continued EU law supremacy, just no votes.

    Personally, I though Remain did a very effective job in rubbishing EEa style alternatives, during the campaign. Hence why they faded from view. Non if Leave’s arguments are reconcileable with such ultra soft Brexit – as Remain pointed out in the debates.

  12. @sorrell

    Contrary to Tancred, you were right to be concerned about being dragged into deeper Union. The ever closer union opt out was legally meaningless – new treaty provisions could never be imposed. We’ve always faced arguments of needing to be at the heart of Europe to influence it, and those would continue. The more Europe drifts towards a proper federation – which the Euro makes inevitable – the less we can be a full member whilst standing aside. I’d have preferred the referendum to have happened when this became clearer, but could hardly count on the question being asked.

    As for the ever closer union clause effecting legal interpretation, that was laughable. A law must be passed to be interpreted. The law will be a part of creating closer union because the law existed in the integration process. We opted out of an aspiration. Given what the European Court did to subsidiarity and to our Charter opt out, it is incredible to suppose that this opt out would have some massive meaning.

  13. “It highlights the problem of Clegg, Starmer, Clarke et al pushing for a negotiation designed to deliver nothing on sovereignty or immigration.”

    ————-

    Don’t worry, Cleggo’s been known to change his mind a few times before now…

  14. @ToH

    “For me the EU referendum was about three things:-
    1. Regaining our sovereignty which includes having control of our borders, and our Courts no longer subject to the ECJ.
    2. Being outside the EU so that we could develop our economy with less constraint. Which IMO will mean a more prosperous UK in the long term.
    3. Leaving the EU before if implodes following the collapse of the Euro.”

    ———–

    Eh? You don’t want more space for allotments?

  15. CARFREW

    That would automatically follow.

  16. is the electorate for local government elections different to that for general elections? is this reflected in you gov polls? and does it explain in part the apparent difference between lib national polling and local government results?

    To vote in a local election you must:

    -be registered to vote
    -be 18 or over on the day of the election (‘polling day’) (16 or over in Scotland)
    -be a British, Commonwealth or EU citizen
    -be resident at an address in the area you wish to vote in
    -not be legally excluded from voting

    To vote in a general election you must:

    -be registered to vote
    -be 18 or over on the day of the election (‘polling day’)
    -be a British, Irish or Commonwealth citizen
    -be resident at an address in the UK (or a British citizen living abroad who has been registered to vote in the UK in the last 15 years)
    -not be legally excluded from voting

    So the difference isn’t huge. If the difference between Lib Dem polling nationally and local election performance was down to the differing electorate, that would suggest there is a massive Lib Dem bonus among EU citizens.

    I think the difference is that people are sophisticated enough to know that a local Lib Dem team can be effective at ward level with the issues at hands.

    National polls are a judgment of parties under a different set of criteria, and under these criteria the Lib Dems nationally are a little invisible probably.

  17. I do wonder whether the SNP has fully thought through its position on the EU. It may make sense tactically but strategically it could be problematic.

    Assuming IndyRef 2 does happen it’s unlikely to have a decisive majority in favour of independence – let’s say 52-48. The terms of independence would be subject to negotiation and would inevitably result in calls for a second referendum as the down side became apparent.

    Of course, as constitutional issues are a reserved matter it would be up to the UK Parliament whether to grant that. Why would it refuse.

    It just strikes me that in the long term it would be in the SNP’s strategic interest to do a deal with TM to facilitate brexit in return for assurances that the U K government would reciprocate.

  18. Jobs news – a minor rise in unemployment, but elsewhere numbers at work continue to grow. But…there has been a sharp drop in the quarterly jobs growth, from 174,000 to 106,000.

    Too early to draw any firm conclusions, and the good news is that job growth is still happening, but we have today had a number of profit warnings and redundancy announcements. All fairly minor so far, but these could be early signs of stress within the labour market.

  19. “its the economy, stupid”
    Remain voters believed the economy would suffer if we left. Leave voters believed it would not. Massively.

    When leave voters were asked what motivated them to leave I expect they basically told the truth as they see it. They did not say the economy motivated them, because that was not the reason they voted to leave. They believed that there would be no damage to the economy if they left or stayed, so why would they consider this to be a motivating factor? Instead, they said it was immigration, or sovereignty, or whatever.

    However, if they had believed the economy was a significant factor, then they might have changed their minds. The leave votes divide between those who voted to leave believing there would be no negative effects on the economy, and those who did believe there would be problems but voted to leave despite them. I know some people who voted leave despite expecting economic problems, but most did not.

    Looked at this way, some 48% of voters believed the economy would be harmed and this was the overriding issue, they voted remain. What proportion of voters believing the economy would not be harmed is susceptible to changing their view, if evidence arrives that harm is real and happening?

    I saw some leave voters being interviewed, who were adamant that the current bad economic news is just froth and everything will settle down. I think they are in denial about this, and many voters always are. But if the economy continues to slide there will come a point they have to accept Brexit is bad for the economy. At that point will they still feel immigration is an overriding issue?

  20. Very timely article! I published part 2 of my reflections on the referendum on YouTube on Monday which can be found here:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pstpt-aletQ

    In this, I did the same thing as the article and reviewed the Ashcroft, BES & Comres surveys (glad to see that YouGov & Ipsos-Mori are consistent as well). At the end, I highlight an issue with these surveys which was a failure to ask if people wanted the UK to have sovereignty over immigration but would still be happy with high levels of immigration provided controls were in place OR did they want the UK to stop immigration?

    The former is merely an extension of the sovereignty argument. As someone who has negotiated the immigration system, I believe that only the UK should decide the immigration policy and not the EU. But I am comfortable with immigration in general and would not want to see it stopped. I happen to think a clear majority of leavers agree with this sentiment. However, there will clearly be some leavers who want immigration stopped and I think you are more likely to find them among the left behind who backed leave.

  21. Thanks AW-a great analysis which should hopefully reduce the column inches of “what did they actually vote for” posts.

    Of course , what we need now is an analysis of the key factors informing the Stay vote.

  22. Danny
    “They [Brexit voters] believed that there would be no damage to the economy if they left or stayed,”

    I don’t think that’s true. We need another poll! My own view, and that of many people I have spoken to (and TOH), was that there might well be short-term economic disturbance, but that it was a price worth paying. After all, we’ve lived through loads of recessions, hyper-inflation etc. In the long term, no-one can be sure what will happen but there would seem to be a reasonable chance that we could prosper better outside an increasingly inward-looking EU.

  23. Alec

    Fair comment on the employment news.

    I would have added I was pleased to see 362,000 more in full time employment than a year ago.

  24. Let’s be honest, the importance of knowing the motivations of Remain and (especially) Leave voters is not in order to determine what the Brexit vote meant. It’s about the future. May has nailed her colours to the Border Controls mast not out of tremendous principle, but because she believes that when push comes to shove, that’s where the majority of voters will want it to be nailed.

    Remainers believe that when push comes to shove, voters will shelve their concerns about migration in order to avoid an economic hit.

    This poll seems to put the answer currently somewhere around about the middle of that. It’s by no means clear to me that in a hypothetical referendum between Border Controls and the Single Market that the single market would win out.

    And of course none of this matters unless the push actually does come to shove. The most likely shoving of a push will be if parliament blocks the government either by voting against A50 (if Gina Miller’s court action forces the government to hold such a vote) or if parliament manages to bind the government to a negotiating position that dispenses with border controls.

    In either of those situations I think May might consider finding a mechanism for going to the country – either by a second referendum or, if she can arrange it, through a General Election.

    The value of polling is in foreshadowing what might happen in the event that she did either of those things. Knowing which way the public leans will help the government, and parliament, to cut their cloth appropriately. Of course if the polling remains a bit “in the middle” that might not help all that much. But it’s still good to know.

  25. PETE B

    I think Danny is relatively new on this site and therefore has missed a lot of posting on the referendum. As you say he has little grounds for saying what he did.

  26. Neil A

    I agree with you I think May would find a way of going to the country.

  27. @Alec

    I don’t really understand why you think that large-scale non-EU migration undermines my concern about EU migration. The two are not alternatives, they stack. If you build 100,000 homes for non-EU migrants, you still have to build another 100,000 homes for EU migrants as well (or whatever). So whatever the level of non-EU migration, trees, fields, birds, insects and mammals are still lost as a result of EU migration.

    It won’t surprise you to learn that I believe that non-EU migration is far too high. It’s no accident of course that it has increased massively since 1997. A series of policy changes encouraged migration and removed some of the barriers (such as the Primary Purpose rule). I believe that May was too lax in reducing it, but then any attempt to reduce the number of migrants by half a dozen generally involves a reflex action from the left, with lots of invocations of Godwin’s Law and other abuse.

    It may be that once outside the EU, the government will feel less constrained in adopting immigration rules that “an abuse of human rights” (i.e. are actually effective) although I don’t count on it. I may well be that some non-EU migrants, particularly skilled worked, may find a non-EU UK easier to migrate to. But that will be up to whoever we elect to make the rules.

    But I absolutely stick to my view that losing the right to deny entry to your country to foreign citizens is quite a significant loss of sovereignty. I agree with those who suggest that some respondents, feeling that opposing immigration will be perceived by some as offensive (and who can blame them, given the hue and cry – think Gordon Brown and his microphone) would characterize this as wanting to regain “sovereignty” or “control”.

    I am personally not that much of a sovereignty nut. So long as you have the right to withdraw from the pooling of sovereignty then I have no major issue with it. But what the Brexit debate basically boils down to is that although we can in theory withdraw “we can’t really” because it’s impossible to make appropriate alternative arrangements within the parameters of the process imposed by the EU.

    The two major areas of “pooled sovereignty” that bother me are borders and trade. The revelation that not only are we legally barred from discussing trade deals with other countries but don’t even have the means to do so was quite a shock – and really highlighted for me just how much sovereignty we’d given up.

  28. Neil A
    Totally agree with your last post. To me there are also other non-economic reasons on top of overpopulation – for instance social cohesion.

  29. Afternoon all from a rather grey People’s (Socialist) Republic of London.

    Sorry to go a bit off topic but following the poling in the US I was wondering if anyone had an explanation for Rasmussen’s polling showing much more favourable % share for Trump? I have found a couple of historical articles highlighting a tendency to overstate ‘Republican’ support but no detailed critique of their methodology covering weighting etc. Their polls are done on-line – but other on-line polls are consistent with a Clinton lead of 5-8 %, whereas whilst Rasmussen is now showing a slight Clinton lead last time I looked they had Trump slightly ahead.

    Back to topic – in terms of the motivations of the remain voters I think ‘sovereignty’ and ‘immigration’ were for many integrally linked, but for many of them ‘sovereignty’ was perceived as the means by which the issue of immigration could be resolved. Anecdotally I only personally know one leave voter for whom it was a question of sovereignty and concerns immigration did not feature in their motivations. All the others I talked to have in some shape or form tended to blend the two together.

    In terms of the likely future government position on Brexit, the degree to which it will shift from its current ‘Hard’ Brexit positioning is directly related to the extent that the negative impacts of Brexit can change ‘leave’ voters’ opinions on the relative importance of sov/immig and the economy. The key reason why certain business leaders have started making noises whereas previously they had kept quiet after the result was known (in order to not startle the horses so to speak), is that since May made her announcement on when Article 50 would be activated by the UK the clock started ticking. For obvious reasons they want to remain part of the single market – and for them the only way of achieving that now is to make it crystal clear to voters what the impact will be.

    All things considered, I think the UK will leave the EU completely with no trade deal/membership of the single market. Main reasons for this in my view are:
    • May from a very early stage through her own announcements restricted any real room for manoeuvre.
    • The UK in its approach to the EU has manged to destroy any residual good will that there was amongst the EU decision making elite.
    • The UK establishment and electorate still does not appreciate how the EU actually works and the political forces and motivations behind it – they will take a relatively small economic hit in favour of a bigger political hit.
    • The UK is in by the far weaker negotiating position – yes it’s the £ which has seen a run the not the Euro, and time is on the EU’s not the UK. No trade deal is more damaging to the UK than the EU – and there are political benefits of not coming to one for the EU.
    • The extent of the short-term negative impacts of Brexit will not be significant enough to shift public opinion to allow May to make such a monumental U-turn on the sticking point of immigration

  30. Trying to track down a transcript of Leadsom’s Paris trade speech, to see if we really do need to take the Conservative party aside and explain where Tea comes from. Yes, Brititsh tea makers “value add” to Tea that is roasted here, but there’s no internationally recognised appellation for “English breakfast tea” which has become a generic term for a strong blend of roasted black tea. The export trade for British roasted tea is a boutique market, even our own mass-market tea is dominated by over-seas companies.

  31. NEIL A
    In either of those situations I think May might consider finding a mechanism for going to the country – either by a second referendum or, if she can arrange it, through a General Election.

    Fair comment, but as OLDNAT pointed out last night some input from PROFHOWARD would be welcome, if only because the impact on the Belfast Agreement has yet to be put to the courts.

    Should they agree that the Belfast Agreement can only be modified with the consent of the NI population then they may have to organise an NI referendum to try to get the necessary consent first. Even if the current A50 challenge fails, that one seems very likely to go to the ECJ if it fails in the UK courts.

  32. Jayblanc

    Perhaps they intend to drive large numbers of Brits out of the country, thereby creating a large expat market to export into?

  33. @PETE B

    “I don’t think that’s true. We need another poll!”

    —————-

    Well we always need another poll…

  34. @Neil A – “I don’t really understand why you think that large-scale non-EU migration undermines my concern about EU migration. The two are not alternatives, they stack. If you build 100,000 homes for non-EU migrants, you still have to build another 100,000 homes for EU migrants as well (or whatever). So whatever the level of non-EU migration, trees, fields, birds, insects and mammals are still lost as a result of EU migration.”

    I don’t disagree. The point I was making was that voters would have been foolish if they voted for Brexit with issues of immigration and sovereignty at the top of their list, if they thought that in doing so they could reduce immigration without an adverse economic impact. This appears to be how many Brexiters voted.

    The reason for this is that we have had sufficient sovereignty over immigration to end it completely, in terms of net migration (indeed reverse it for all but the last year) but we haven’t done so.

    On the rest of your post, yes, I can largely agree with that also. The difficulty with the EU pooling arrangements are that they are irreversible, other than leaving. This means that we have vested all manner of authority within the EU, regardless as to whether it continues to function in what we judge to be a sensible and proper manner.

    I remain personally aghast at some of the ECJ’s interpretive judgements, for example, which extend the Commissions authority and undermine subsidiarity. However disagreeable some of these become, we are locked into them, which is a problem.

  35. @Alec – I think Neil A explains the position well.

    Just because we haven’t exercised the right to restrict non-EU migrants by a greater degree doesn’t mean we cannot do so in the future.

    Not so with EU migrants. We have no right to restrict.

    So yes lack of control over the borders is a sub-set of sovereignty.

    I would also point out that the EU numbers are specifically repressed as they only count people who were in the country for an entire year. If you are an EU national and you spend 11 months in the UK and one month out you would not be considered for the official migration figure.

    That was the government’s counting rules when a freedom of information request asked why the number of National Insurance numbers issued to EU nationals exceeded the published migration figures by 1.2 Million over the last 5 years!

    So that’s another 240,000 a year on average of “part-time” migrants. Those migrants have full access to our services, push up rents and housing costs further and put further strain on our infrastructure and outcompete many of the working classes who have been shamefully ignored.

  36. NEILA

    @” It’s by no means clear to me that in a hypothetical referendum between Border Controls and the Single Market that the single market would win out.”

    I agree. And I think May does too-but not, I suspect, solely because she thinks Leave voters place Border Controls ( a part of Sovereignty) as a higher priority than Economic risk..
    She will , of course have noted the disdain with which Leave voters rejected the idea of a negative economic effect:- In the YouGov Poll AW refers to , not only did only 8% of Leave voters cite economic matters as the ONE issue which most decided their vote, 48% of them thought we would be economically better off after leaving.

    So she could be forgiven for leaning heavily on this support, even if she was as blase about the economic impact as the Leave voters in the Poll seem to be. But I don’t think she is at all blase about the economic impact-and it shows in her language.

    Whereas Remainers always posit Border controls vs MEMBERSHIP of The Single Market she never does. She always uses the same phrase-as she did today on more than one occasion in HoC:- “the best possible ACCESS to trade with and operate within the Single European Market”.

    Or , as Dan Hannan said in his September article for Con Home-just like USA.-who don’t labour under the jurisdiction of the ECJ.

    That article was headlined “Repeat after me. Single market membership and single market access are not the same thing.”

  37. Even with the worst of these numbers if 2/3 of Leave voters voted the way they did over Immigration or something akin to that – that is still only 35% of those that voted. Leaving a 65% (nearly 2 to 1 majority) for whom Immigration is not a concern.

    [No, that’s really not the way it works. Depending on which figure you take, you can say only x% of people thought that immigration was their number one motivation, but that doesn’t rule out them caring about other things too. We can’t say people who didn’t pick immigration did NOT care about immigration, only that they did not care about it AS MUCH as they cared about x, y or z. Hence the MORI figure showing a higher share for immigration, because people could say more than one thing.

    Of course, in practice people’s thoughts may have been a bit more complicated than that, and their concerns may not fit easily into arbitrary boxes. Someone who was mainly concerned about Britain having the ability to control our own borders, for example, could be characterised as caring most about sovereignty or about immigration – AW]

  38. @Jasper22
    “Old Nat
    It really is rich of you to make out the Empire was very much an “English” Empire.
    The Scotch were the driving force behind the expansion of the British Empire and were enthusiastic in so doing – as every schoolboy knows.”

    Jasper

    I guess Oldnat is a better historian than I am. Things are, I think, rather more complex than as you state.

    The Scots always have been migratory. Many left Scotland out of poverty and need. Many were forced to emigrate as a result of the clearances. Many Scots went to Ireland for the Plantations of Hamilton and Montgomery, followed by hat of James VI ans I. From Ireland they went to America. At first this was the result of religious persecution. Later, it was to seek a better life.

    The elite tried to infiltrate English empire as merchants, soldiers, officials and investors.

    Take, for example, slavery. he English had been engaged in slavery from the 16th century. One Scotsman, Wedderburn died at Culloden. Two sons, 16 and 17 years, went to the West Indies and became very successful slave owners. I am not sure whether it was need or whether the boys were deported after Culloden as many Scots were. I doubt if they were initially enthusiastic about leaving Scotland. Of course, many Scots were interested in making a fortune from slavery, including Burns.

    The Ulster Scots who went to North America initially went because of religious persecution. Later, the great rush was to achieve a better life. George Washington thought highly of their fighting qualities and many fought against British rule. The Ulster Scots went on to play a major part in the development of the United States and its culture, including the KKK.

  39. Miserable Old Git
    I’d like to see a regional breakdown. Down here in deepest Tory Sussex all the leavers I know were primarily concerned about “sovereignty” (whatever that nebulous concept may mean). I rather suspect that in the less affluent Labour north the leavers were immigration-wallahs.

    Apologies if you’ve already been through these tables, but I think your best bet is
    Ashcroft’s big poll from 21-23 June. Regional segments have ns ranging from 80ish (NI) to 950ish (SE Eng), with most being in the 300-600 range. He asked Leave voters to rank how important various reasons were to their decision including ‘The principle that decisions about the UK should be taken in the UK’ and ‘A feeling that voting to leave the EU offered the best chance for the UK to regain control over immigration and its own borders’. The tables you want start on p. 256. My impression is that the data don’t support your hunch, but I only glanced at mean ranks and error.

  40. @Colin

    There’s no such thing as “access” to the common market without being a member of the common market. That’s a flat non-starter. Other countries have tried to get it, and been rebuffed, the Swiss tried to negotiate retaining access to the common market without being a full member, and they too were told they had to be a member or be an outsider. It’s not on offer, it never was, and holding it up as some potential compromise is false.

  41. JAYBLANC

    You cannot know that it “isn’t on offer”-to a Brexiting UK.

    You cannot know that, any more than Theresa May can know that it is-until she sits opposite them all & asks for it.

    Unless you haven’t been listening to her-she has explained ad nauseam that she isn’t going to attempt a copy of something existing. She is going to attempt something which doesn’t exist at all at present.

    Now-returning to her actual words-we will find out in due course what her delivery of “the best possible access” turns out to be.
    Her Premiership, and indeed her Government will probably stand or fall on the public’s verdict on it.

    Meanwhile standing on the side lines shouting “can’t do that” is just a pointless as sticking your fingers in your ears & shouting ” no problems”.

  42. @Jayblanc/Colin

    I think “access to the Single Market” is really code for “a trade deal with the EU”.

    The impression is being given, rightly or wrongly but very deliberately, that we won’t be able to get a trade deal with the EU that results in anything much better than WTO rules. It is even hinted that we may not be able to trade under WTO rules as we are allegedly no longer a member of that organization (I think this is a silly argument, which I parodied a few days ago and was castigated by Somerjohn for thinking, he believed, that not having a trade agreement meant we couldn’t trade at all).

    The Swiss are a good example, as the only country to try and pilot this path. I think it is a good indicator that whatever may be available will fall far short of completely free access. However, I both believe that something will be available and that the inevitable pain of adjusting to that something would be worth it in the long run.

    Canada is of course the other example. To adopt a version of CETA would be bad for our financial services, which is a major problem, but would otherwise be a reasonable template. The question is whether the City can find creative ways to manage the impact, or will just close for business and move to Paris/Frankfurt.

    The fact that the EU seems unable to negotiate free trade deals with anyone points both ways. It is a bad omen for us in negotiating one with them, but a good indicator that in the long run our trading position with non-EU countries may benefit from us doing deals the EU could/would not.

  43. Neil A

    Wouldn’t them moving to Frankfurt/Paris/(Edinburgh if Scotland leaves the UK) result in a lower population and therefore be a boon to the UK? Isn’t the best solution (for you) the one where the most people leave these shores?

    If the government can push out the highly mobile tech industry as well, double boon!

  44. New poll:

    https://twitter.com/gsoh31/status/788735407844360192

    Ipsos-Mori: Con 47%, Lab 29%, LD 7%, UKIP 6%.

    UKIP’s collapse is benefitting the Conservatives.

    If I was Mrs May, I’d call a general election in the New Year before triggering Article 50 to a) get a mandate for herself and b) get an amenable Parliament to make negotiating easier.

  45. NEILA

    @”The impression is being given, rightly or wrongly but very deliberately, that we won’t be able to get a trade deal with the EU that results in anything much better than WTO rules.”

    I don’t agree-that is to say I have not detected that message from May.

    I think she means what she says-Best Possible terms of access. That must mean retaining at least some part of Tarrif Free access which we currently have.

    However-the recent styming of the huge CETA deal by one of Belgium’s multiple layers of federal democracy , which prompted Trudeau to say ” “If in a week or two we see that Europe is unable to sign a progressive trade agreement with a country like Canada, well, then with whom will Europe think that it can do business in the years to come?”-gives some credance to your proposition that we will still have no agreement with EU , two years after A50.

    But as TM intriguingly hinted today in Hoc ( or did she???) -it may take longer than two years to do so.

    This fiendishly complex brief that May has taken on will probably finish her political career off-if not her health.

  46. SRCOOPER

    “Even with the worst of these numbers if 2/3 of Leave voters voted the way they did over Immigration or something akin to that – that is still only 35% of those that voted. Leaving a 65% (nearly 2 to 1 majority) for whom Immigration is not a concern.”

    No, your logic is faulty here, there may be many remain voters that were concerned about immigration but other things convinced them to vote remain. Now that we are leaving there may be a portion of remain voters that want immigration controls if we are bexiting anyway. I don’t know if this group exists or how large it might be, but until we have proved the non existence of remainers worried about immigration we can’t say only 35% of people are worried about immigration.

  47. CANDY

    Hells Bells!!!!

    The political twists & turns pile one upon another.

  48. CatManJeff – ” If the difference between Lib Dem polling nationally and local election performance was down to the differing electorate, that would suggest there is a massive Lib Dem bonus among EU citizens.”

    Remember that turnout also plays a part. Some of the local by-election wins have been on turnout of about 30%. Which means that only the really motivated bothered to vote. But in a general election the silent majority tends to turn out too.

  49. @Tancred
    I know I’m late to the party but …
    “you can’t join a club and then try to change the rules to suit you”
    Why not? Don’t you have the same rights as other members to put forward ideas for improvements? The other members might agree that your idea is a good one.
    If they don’t, the rules stay the same. If you keep trying, the others get fed up, and you perhaps come to realise the club isn’t what you thought, and you shouldn’t be a member after all.
    Isn’t this where we are? (By a small majority)

  50. Corbyn strikes again :-

    “Jeremy Corbyn just cannot help himself. After supposedly heartfelt pleas for unity during the Labour party leadership contest, he has followed up on his controversial dismissal of former chief whip Rosie Winterton by seemingly opposing the election of Hillary Benn as chair of the newly created House of Common Brexit select committee. But not only that, it looks as if he is throwing his weight behind Kate Hoey to take the job instead. The result of the vote, in which all MPs take part, is expected later today

    Of course, in classic Corbyn style, the man himself was nowhere to be seen near the nomination papers; but the fact that prominent supporters of his such as Clive Lewis, Paul Flynn and Dennis Skinner publicly backed Hoey’s election gave the game away. They would not have done so without a nod and a wink from the man in charge.

    For a long time, Benn had been the only candidate to take the Brexit committee job – which has been allocated to Labour – and he was backed by a large majority of the party’s MPs, as well as the wider party. This was not only to ensure a forensic examination of government ministers’ Brexit plans, but also to form a strong partnership with Labour’s shadow Brexit minister Keir Starmer, who has already been receiving rave reviews after less than two weeks in the job.”

    pb

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