Earlier this week NatCen released new polling on what people want from Brexit. The vast majority (90%) of people would like to keep free trade with the European Union. By 70% to 22% people would also like to limit the amount of EU immigration into Britain. Getting these two things together does not, of course, seem particularly likely. Asked if Britain should agree to keep free movement in exchange for keeping free trade, people are much more evenly split – 49% think we should, 51% think we should not (the full report is here).

Personally, I still think the best way of judging public opinion on Brexit is probably not to ask about individual policies, but to test some plausible scenarios – when it comes to it, people will judge the deal as a whole, not as the sum of its parts. YouGov released some updated polling on Brexit today that repeated that experiment, and again found that a Canadian type deal is likely to get the widest support from the public (that is, no freedom of movement and a more limited trade deal). The problem with a Norway type deal – retaining full free-trade with the EU in exchange for keeping freedom of movement and a financial contribution is that most of the public would see it as not respecting the result of the referendum.

I’ve written a much longer piece about the YouGov polling over on the YouGov site here, so I won’t repeat it all. One interesting bit though is looking at the possible outcomes of an early election, fought on the issue of Brexit. Now, I should start with some important caveats – hypothetical election questions are very crude tools. While I’m sure an early election would be dominated by the issue of Brexit, there would be other issues at play too, so a question like this will over emphasise the impact of Brexit policy. Nevertheless, it suggests some interesting patterns. YouGov asked how people would vote if Brexit could not pass a Parliamentary vote and instead an early election happened. In the scenarios the Conservatives and UKIP back Brexit (as they undoubtedly would) and the Lib Dems back a second referendum (as they’ve said they would). YouGov offered three different scenarios for Labour – one, where Labour back Brexit, two where Labour back only a “soft Brexit”, three where Labour also offer a second referendum. In all three cases the Conservatives would win easily – even the closest scenario gives them a twelve point lead. The interesting finding is the Lib Dems – in the two scenarios where they are the only party offering a second referendum their support goes up to 19% or 22% (if Labour also offer a referendum the Lib Dems don’t gain nearly so much). So, while these are hypothetical questions that need to be taken with a pinch of salt, it does suggest that appealing to those voters who really are set against Brexit could be a route back for the Lib Dems, especially if they are the lone “anti-Brexit” party. The full results for the YouGov polling are here.

Meanwhile Ipsos MORI released their monthly political monitor. In terms of voting intention the Conservative lead is halved from last month, but that is likely something of a reversion to the mean after a towering eighteen point lead last month. Topline figures are CON 42%, LAB 33%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 7%, GRN 3%. As ever, wait until you see the change echoed in other polls before concluding that the Conservative lead is waning.

Theresa May still enjoys a positive approval rating – 54% are satisfied with the job she is doing, 30% disatisfied. The new government also have a net positive rating at their handling of the economy so far – 51% think they’ve done a good job, 30% a bad job. Where the public are not convinced is on how the government are handling the biggest issue – only 37% think the government are doing a good job at handling Brexit, 48% think they are doing a bad job. Full details of the MORI poll are here.

424 Responses to “NatCen & YouGov polling on Brexit and MORI’s political monitor”

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  1. @Carfrew

    I hardly think that confusing ‘English history (monarchs included)’ with ‘British history’ is a slight error. It is a fundamental misunderstanding of what the UK is. And these days, that’s a serious error, for if the English want to keeping the UK together they had better start trying to show they care about bits of it other than England. And one good way of showing that you care about someone is to take their story seriously, and not constantly say it as an irrelevant matter which they ought to forget about because you think your story is much more important. On a global scale your story may be more important; but you don’t win friends and influence people by dismissing them as irrelevant.

  2. And I hardly think that my question is ‘vital’! The lack of answer is just indicative of the state of awareness which, a times, pervades the discourse on this site.
    And, for the record, I doubt more than one Scot in ten could answer the question either, without consulting books on the subject. Over to you, Old Nat?

  3. @John B

    Been through all this before. To you, yes, Scots history might be paramount. But there are plenty other nations to know the history of. And then there’s other important stuff to know, about education, economics, Thorium and much, much more.

    There aren’t the hours in the day to be up to speed on everything important, so you will always likely be able to hassle peeps over not knowing enough Scots history, and even if we did you’d prolly have a go at summat else like commentators or quoting Salmond or having the temerity to disagree

    \bottomless pit

  4. WB

    I am aware of such things as one of my granddaughters is studying the Weimar Inflation amongst other things as part of her GCSE History course. I was able to help as I have a very large collection of 1922-23 Inflation banknotes. Amusingly some of these notes are now very valuable having been virtually worthless at the time.

    Looking at the list I would suggest that a good grounding in the History of the British Isles is required before one studies such specialised matters.

  5. John B

    Please correct me if i am wrong but I would say the first monarch you were asking about was Robert II 1371-1390.


    “Between 2001-11 the Number of EU citizens in Scotland rose from just under 4% to over 7% of the population with Poles now the largest ethnic group ahead of Indians and Pakistani’s.”

    Is that ahead of either one or both together? Anyway, Scotland has successfully absorbed many Europeans in the past, esp Italians. Look at Tom Conti, Lou Macari, Peter Capaldi, etc,.

  7. YG Westminster VI tables now up –


    GB : Con 42% : Lab 28% : UKIP 11% : LD 8% : SNP/PC 6% : Grn 4%

    Sco (tiny sample as per usual, but suggests little change) SNP 52% : Lab 21% : Con 20% : LD 4% : UKIP 2% : Grn 1%


    Brent Crude is at 46.06 Dollars a Barrel at the moment.

  9. Looking back, I now wish the Armada had been successful and Elizabeth captured and beheaded. This would have brought England back into Europe good and proper. Shame.

  10. @ToH

    Do you have any Scottish notes?

  11. Regarding the subject of this post, as opposed to Scottish history and the Weimar republic, I think the question that needs to be asked is whether people would prefer EEA (not EFTA) as Norway has straight away, or a Canadian style deal after 7 (plus 2) years..

    I personally think the EU will offer us EEA (ie. membership of the single union, with a contribution and freedom of movement, but perhaps a brake on the latter)) as an “interim deal”. Assuming that those who back Remain would agree to it, that actually has the backing of 48% in the Yougov poll. If the real alternative is WTO rules for a further 7 years, that % would probably go up..

    The problem with “bespoke deals” as Theresa May wants, is that they take a very long time to negotiate..

  12. OLDNAT

    Thanks for lead to new YouGov Poll which appears to be continuing good news for the Prime Minister and the Tories.

    Looking at the detailed questions the most important issiue facing Britain remains leaving the EU 61%.

    Right to leave EU 46%
    Wrong to leave EU 43%

    On paper an increase in the leavers but with margin of error.

    On other issues Labour only leads on NHS and Housing and in both cases the lead over the Tories has been reduced to 5% and 2%.

    The Tories lead on the Economy by 22% and may leads Corbyn as best PM by 30%.

    So no real signs of change in this poll.

  13. apologies to the Prime Minister Mrs May.


    No I don’t collect British ntes of any kind as they are devaluing :-)

    Only Germany 1871-1945.

  15. @ToH

    “I don’t collect British notes of any kind as they are devaluing :-)”


    Especally if you buy synths…

  16. SCOTTISH population.

    Thank you very much . that is my sons mini school project sorted!

  17. Along time ago I did what was then known as an ‘O’ level in History.
    The school chose the option ‘Tudors and Stuarts’ because of the period’s importance in establishing the British constitution (note the recent High Court case)
    We began with Henry VII and ended with Queen Anne.
    From Elizabeth I to the Civil War my notes (which I still have) included quite good coverage of Scottish events, without which certain aspects of English history could not be understood. Perhaps we were better taught in those days, despite the fact that a very good pass could be achieved be memorising the notes and reproducing relevant sections verbatim. I never wrote faster in my life, and I can still answer University Challenge type questions such as “Name the five members Charles I sought to arrest” all in one breath!

    Just some thought on the “best possible deal” for Brexit.

    I suggest that “the best Brexit deal” in the eyes of Remainers would be to stay in, perhaps in the hope of future reforms?

    For a Leaver, it might be
    No future payments, except freshly negotiated co-operation on security, research, police co-operation etc
    Tariff free trade
    UK laws subject to UK courts not European ones
    UK control of borders and no ‘free movement of people’
    UK deciding on EU citizen’s ‘rights’ for those in UK

    That is something like a “Brexiter’s best Brexit deal”
    We are not going to get that.

    The “best possible deal on Brexit” means trading off these extreme and incompatible ideas so that some may perhaps be achieved as writte, others modified, maybe some not gained at all. The outcome then depends on negotiations with the EU which will have its own agenda. Neither side, if they have any sense, will reveal its negotiating position completely in the early stages. Debates in Parliament, selectively reported in the media, can hardly be helpful to UK negotiators.
    Also, these matters are about our future relations with the EU, rather than about the arrangements by which we leave the EU.
    At present the most likely scenario seems to me will be failure to agree at the end of 2 years, with similar failure to agree unanimously that it is worth continuing, and so the Treaty of Lisbon will cease to apply. WE (UK and EU) will then have to negotiate all kinds of issues to eachother’s best or even mutual advantage.

  18. Dave
    That seems a good summary. Let’s hope we can all stop going on about it now until something new happens!

    The Yougov poll linked to be OldNat seems to show UKIP and Libs back more or less to where they were until recently, despite a couple of recent polls seeming to show Libs inching ahead.

  19. Re: historical knowledge/teaching of the population.

    Are there many people who really know much about history in any of the countries of the UK? Is it not more true to say that the vast majority of people know only a few reductionist, nationalistic snippets:

    “We” smashed the “frenchies” at Agincourt, woo go “us”!
    The “frenchies” beat “us” at Hastings, boo sad times!

    Or whatever.

    I don’t necessarily think that the premise is wrong that cross-border enlightenment is beneficial, but (and maybe this is just my inner pedant) is it not more true to describe the important thing as being more aware of the foundation myths and sense of identity of different areas of the UK, rather than the history as such?

  20. John B – “if the English want to keeping the UK together they had better start trying to show they care about bits of it other than England”

    England no longer cares, that’s the point. The SNP have trashed the Scottish brand, and we can never go back to ten years ago when people subsidized the Scots but pretended not to to save their feelings. The attitude now is that Scots are a waste of space and we’d be better off if they just left. In the EU ref there were politicians saying “if you vote leave, the Scots will exit” and English voters thinking “that would be a good outcome”.

    As long as you stay in the Union you are going to be on the receiving end of English exceptionalism. If you don’t like it, bite the bullet and leave. But what you can’t have is what you had ten years ago, that option is off the table.

  21. TNS conducted its regular poll for the EU Parliament on attitudes to the EU in all the member states of the Union in September.

    The summary report is here –


    and the results of the 1,306 sample in the UK (compared with the whole EU sample of 27.768) is here –


  22. @Popeye

    It is not just foundation myths, it’s the fact that we make cults around women leaders, while other countries do so around men.

    For example there was a huge Boudicca revival in the 19th century, and that’s when that statue of her in the chariot was made, on the bank opposite Parliament.

    Elizabeth I, Boudicca and the others had an effect on Mrs T. You know that picture of her in a tank – that was her equivalent of Boudicca in a chariot. A cult developed around Thatcher herself in the Tory party, which then made it easy for Mrs May to win the leadership.

    The only male who has come close to this kind of myth-making is Churchill – but even he is more popular in the United States (Republicans seem to incessantly quote him) than in the UK. We’ve even managed to change our WW2 mythology and the iconic image is no longer Churchill and his cigar, but a young Princess Elizabeth in her mechanic clothes fixing a landrover as part of the WW2 effort. World War 1 images tend to emphasize the women in the factories rather than the men in the trenches. This is a country comfortable with the female principle.

  23. Political leaders from both bits of Ireland seem to be getting on fine in their Brexit discussions says a Scottish Unionist paper.


    Though, since I can’t find that story in the Irish Times or the Belfast Telegraph ………..

  24. Dave: “A long time ago I did what was then known as an ‘O’ level in History.”

    These things can have a life-long impact. In my case, for A level history- probably in the same era as your O level – I did the Tudors and Stuarts for British history plus European history 1815-1914. The latter appealed much more, as it seemed to explain so well how we got where we are – Congress of Vienna, spread of modern economies, German and Italian unification, colonial and economic rivalries, the rise of nationalism and modern political movements, the hapless, tragic slide towards WW1. Impossible to feel, after studying that, that we are anything but European.

  25. @oldnat

    Here is a link to Brian Walker (@ Slugger O’Toole

    Pragmatism rules.

    Candy might be interested in the description of the two women leaders

    “Arlene’s dour comments can be contrasted unfavourably with the regal visionary style of Nicola Sturgeon. But Arlene doesn’t have the field of government to herself. In practice they are both pragmatic and when it suits them, even cooperative towards political opponents.”

    And, of course, as you well know it is a knowledge of Irish history and Scots history that helps to shape attitudes towards how inept, and sometimes malign, can be the UK government and Treasury Secretaries in particular.

  26. Interesting interview with Anna Soubry in the Guardian:


    Certainly a feisty and angry woman. The interview is worth reading just for her rather graphic explanation of the origin of Farage’s cheesy grin, which I hadn’t heard before.

    But what should probably concern us more is this:

    the Scottish government will argue that the consent of Holyrood is also required to trigger article 50. Soubry thinks it has a strong case. “Yes. I’m reliably informed that the Scotland Act 2016 section 2 says that you cannot interfere with devolved Scottish matters, they must be determined by the Scottish parliament.”

    If, as seems likely, Scotland were to block article 50, what would happen then? “Well, we’re in a terrible constitutional crisis. We are on the verge of a constitutional crisis the likes of which we have not seen.”

    In all our discussions of matters Scottish, I don’t think I’ve seen this point addressed so directly. Any comments from north of the border (or elsewhere)?

  27. Regarding an early General Election:
    Could anyone throw any light on how soon the Boundaries Commission will complete their work?
    This is surely a major factor in why the Prime Minister is holding back.

  28. We need polling!

    Lots of folk suggesting that the cash planned for refurbishing Westminster and Buckingham Palaces should go to Children in Need, and the BBC should run a Palace Telethon to raise the cash for those projects.


  29. Somerjohn

    “In all our discussions of matters Scottish, I don’t think I’ve seen this point addressed so directly”

    Not that Soubry is much of an expert on many things, but what she refers to has been widely discussed in Scottish legal/political/constitutional circles.

    She is correct that there would be a “constitutional crisis” if Westminster simply ignored the Scottish Parliament (and the Welsh and NI Assemblies) – which is, no doubt, why May is trying to involve the devolved administrations in discussions (even though she might have no intention of bothering what they say!)

    However, as has been said often on here, the UK Parliament (not its Government)has retained the power to legislate over the head of the devolved administrations anyway.

    Whether Legislative Consent Motions (LCM – the new name for the Sewel Convention) are actually required, would be a matter for legal debate – probably at the UK Supreme Court, but possibly at the ECJ too.

    See this argument here.


    Ultimately, of course, what the law is interpreted to mean (the duty of the courts) is one thing. If “the people” consider that what they understood (or are subsequently told that that is what they understood! :-) ) then that can be a very different matter.

  30. O/T

    For those people interested in inflation/deflation and macroeconomics, here is a lecture by Richard Koo, Chief Economist of Nomura.


    He goes through the Japanese experience in some detail where their bubble burst in 1989, and they’ve now had 25 years of very low inflation (and sometimes deflation), plus low interest rates. He believes Europe is in a similar situation.

    It is 1 hour 35 minutes long, but worth watching if you can spare the time.

  31. Oldnat

    Interesting link, which seems to knock Soubry’s point on the head. It discusses the Scotland Act 1998 while Soubry talks about “the Scotland Act 2016 section 2” but as far as I can see, this year’s act doesn’t change the fundamentals.

    I thought maybe I’d missed something significant.

  32. Somerjohn

    “which seems to knock Soubry’s point on the head” is putting it too strongly.

    I was simply showing a legal argument that could be deployed.

    Given that all three devolved administrations will be in court and (discounting the particular Brexit issues) have a common interest in preventing a UK Government bypassing aspects of devolution, I’d anticipate some lawyerly chats between counsel, and a common approach on this.

  33. This is a long but interesting read about the dangers of unrealistically demonizing your opponents.


    More interesting for me because I had just read a radical left article about the good points about recent appointments by trump, which indicate that he is going to be more careful about using american military might abroad and will not extend surveillance on the American people. His newly appointed strategist is reputed to be sexist and racist but scares the hell out of other conservatives with his desire to rein in the banks and end the “too big to fail” culture. There are points where the radical left overlap with the radical right just as centrists in both camps overlap on some issues. For some left wingers there might be a lot to be happy about in a trump presidency!

  34. @Somerjohn and @Oldnat

    A longer piece on it here:


    I don’t see how the devolved legislatures can block Brexit. The only way this could be done is for the UK Parliament to challenge the Government and block it in the Commons or the Lords. Or the Government to do a complete 180 and drop the matter or the Queen to refuse to give assent to any Brexit Bill. All seem fanciful IMO.

  35. Somerjohn I too did A level history and studied the same European period as you. I found it far more interesting than British history. It was fascinating and explained how modern Europe developed. Like you it made me instinctively European and that will never change.

  36. Just a little contribution of history and popular perceptions from-the fairy land of Hungary.

    In the 14th century the Hungarians had a king called Louis (Lajos) 5)3 great. That he happened from the Sicilian branch of the Anjou is a minor issue. He would probably be better known for his Army after losing in Napoli managed to spread the Black Death to the rest of Europe (it would have spread, but his army helped).

    Anyway, he eventually became the king of Poland too. It was a personal union, but for some reason Hungarians believe that it was one country, and we (the Hungarians) ruled Poland too. The historical clarity in mind is not helped that the great poet, Petôfi, of the 19th century claimed the same and in addition that Hungary had three sea coasts (or using the Hungarian expression “three seas washed the borders of Hungary). Well, apart from the fact that the countries remained separate in spite of the common king, it is inaccurate. Although by ruling Coatia there was an outlet to the Adriatic Sea, and by occupying Vlachia for a short period to the Black Sea, there were two seas, but unfortunately, Poland then didn’t have sea shores as these were ruled by the Teutonic Knights (until 1444), so it was a mere projection, but most Hungarians believe that we actually ruled Poland and we had three seas. They have never heard of the king’s daughter, who is highly appreciated in Poland, while nobody remembers Louis. By the way, this king was the first Hungarian king to fight the Ottomans.

    Oddly, Hungarians do not recognise the same personal union when it comes to the Jagello house of Poland that also ruled Hungary for about 35 years, so for them, correctly, Hungary wasn’t part of Poland, but in the previous situation, for them, Poland was part of Hungary.

    The thing is even more complicated, as Sigismund of Luxemburg was also a Hungarian king, and the emperor of the holy German-Roman empire, yet the Hungarians don’t make a claim on this.

    So much for national history. I’m really with Hegel in this.

  37. CambridgeRachel

    There is no overlap between the radical left and radical right.

    If you want to know what the radical left proposed, it’s worth to read the CPUS’s stance. I suppose we can call them radical left. There is really no overlap,

    This is from their general,secretary:

    “Some are voting for Green Party candidate Jill Stein to “send a message.” Still others hope a Clinton defeat provokes a crisis in the Democratic Party leading to its break-up

    Others see the danger of Trump and want to defeat him. But like Sanders supporter and RootsAction.org founder Norman Solomon, they advocate a “safe state” strategy: vote for Clinton in the battleground states to ensure she wins but vote Green Party in the solidly blue (safe) or solidly red states.

    This is a flawed strategy. First, like it or not, we have a two party system. One of the two major parties will win and govern. If this were a parliamentary democracy different tactics would be called for.

    Wall Street interests may dominate both parties but they reflect vastly different electoral coalitions and class, racial and social make up.”

    And this is the final positioning of the party:

  38. I seem to have studied the same periods of Uk and European history as other contributors. It made me realise how lucky I was to be English, and to be remote from internecine wars on the Continent except when we chose to be involved. Goodnight all.

  39. JOHN B
    “And a work permit regime which allowed someone to work in Scotland but not elsewhere in the UK would be perfectly possible. Idem for residency. Presumably the English would allow a person holding such a permit to travel for tourism purposes…”
    This again raises the question of powers of decision and policy making in parliamentary bodies outside the UK Parliament. Scotland is not permitted to engage in foreign policy but would, your point assumes, be entitled to determine immigration specifically as labour market policy. (It would then within its domestic polity making be entitled to use a Migrant Fund and similar measures to invest in housing, education and health and other social measures to manage integration of migrant communities and to assist and enhance access to those affected by migration.)

    “Scotland has successfully absorbed many Europeans in the past,”

    Including on a point of interest but totally irrelevant to this discussion, E.African Asian migrants, descendants of Gujerati who were brought to Kenya to build the Mombasa to Kampala railways and became the entrepreneurs of Keny and Uganda, expelled by idi Amin, among them some who, arriving in Glasgow, moved on to set up small businesses serving the communities of the highlands and islands and who to this day speak only Urdu and the Gaelic.

  41. Of course, not Europeans – which makes it even more irrelevant. Sorry, early morning and watching the cricket. Bairstow injured walking to the wicket LOL :-) That’s what comes of having a ginger wicket keeper!

  42. It’s worth reflecting what a huge difference the 52.5% vote to leave in Wales made to the legitimacy of the result across the UK. Had it just been England voting to leave, things would be very different.

  43. Oldnat
    Thanks for the link to the European poll. Surprising how positive British people still are about many aspects of Europe… the European Parliament is the only really unpopular thing, (which always surprises me, but probably people are thinking about the European Commission in reality)

    I think this is where the Remain campaign really failed. For decades everything negative has been blamed on Europe, and they get the credit for nothing, with both press and successive governments colluding on this. For example people thought in the Curtis poll recently that European regulations on mobile phone companies were bad!? When they have reduced roaming charges to a tiny fraction of what they are elsewhere …

  44. New thinking.

    In this time of challenge to old and accepted ideas is it not time for Britain to review why it should be committed to the defence of Europe.
    Our defence stance has been unsustainable for many years. Why we should be spending more on defence than Germany defeats me.If Europe wishes to defend itself it should pay for its own defence and not sneer at america on the one hand and yet rely on them to defend Europe whilst declining to properly contribute on the other.

    Trump is correct to question why it should be contributing to the defence of a number of the richest nations on earth whilst they spend money on other things. america may wish to concentrate on the South China sea.
    Britain should learn the lessons of the second world war. We cannot influence a european land war. we should concentrate on Naval power to keep the Atlantic open,an air force and a smaller land force. Let France and Germany provide the land army.
    We should mention this to our European friends in our brexit negotiations

  45. TOH – 4.08 and 4.15

    4.08 – agree totally

    4.15 – correct. And in retrospect I was optimistic to hope that 1 Scot in 10 would know the answer: probably more like one in a hundred. Though the same could probably be said of folk south of the Border and the answer to the question “Who was the first Plantagenet monarch?”

    Anyway, to more up-to-date issues: the Yougov poll, which is supposed to be part of the theme of this thread, is, IMO, indicating a growing awareness of the confusion which is afflicting not only the government but also the main opposition party (Labour, appparently) as to what the UK is trying to achieve in the Brexit process. I know it’s only talk below the radar, but there would seem to me to be some truth in the assertion by some that the Government is at virtual gridlock about possible approaches, whilst Labour is desperately trying to work out a process of saving its seats in many areas.

    The LDs are used to being a small minority – although recent years saw a (temporary?) growth in their Westminster presence – and can survive a few years at the level of 20 to 25 seats, if they can get back to that level as ‘the lone anti-Brexit party’, though contrary to AW’s comment in the penultimate sentence of the paragraph on the Yougov poll, the LDs will not, of course, be the only ‘anti-Brexit’ party. The SNP and the Greens (perhaps less enthusiastically) are also anti-Brexit. So let’s remember that we’re not limited to England on this site….. (ahem!)
    Anyway, much there will depend on the agricultural settlement arrived at by the Government post Brexit for teh future of seats in rural areas, and the LDs might regain in the South West of England.
    The SNP is likely to remain the third biggest party in the next Westminster parliament whenever the election is held on whichever issue.

  46. What happens if Article 50 is not triggered during 2017 because of Court and/or Parliamentary proceedings ?

    Would Theresa May plough on doing what was necessary in passing necessary legislation or would she be tempted to call a vote of no confidence leading to an early general election ?

    With such a small majority and no majority for Brexit, going through major legislation might just prove very frustrating and cause leave voters to feel very angry.

    A general election might not be welcomed by many voters, if the parties are not offering a clear vision of Brexit. The Tories prior to any Brexit negotiations are not going to give full details of the type of Brexit they want and neither will Labour. Labour might offer another referendum on any Brexit deal.

  47. S thomas

    I thought the main lesson we learnt from the second world war is that an armed germany or japan is dangerous!

  48. Pete B: “I seem to have studied the same periods of Uk and European history as other contributors. It made me realise how lucky I was to be English, and to be remote from internecine wars on the Continent except when we chose to be involved.”

    So you studied the Stuarts, but didn’t notice our own little internecine squabble 1642-51? And we did choose to be involved in rather a lot of continental wars, plus an inordinate number of colonial adventures. Pretty typical for a large European power of the time, in fact.

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