In terms of support for Brexit we end the year in pretty much the same place as we were on June 23rd. Among some there is a desire to jump on the slightest bit of evidence to suggest that people have changed their mind one way or the other. Overall however, the polling suggests that public opinion remains largely unchanged.

There have been numerous polls since the referendum that have asked how people would vote in another referendum tomorrow (below are all the polls I can find in the last three months):

ComRes/CNN (18th Dec) – Remain 45, Leave 47 (Remain 49, Leave 51)
Gallup International (7th Dec) – Remain 54, Leave 46 (Remain 54, Leave 46)
ComRes/Mirror (27th Nov) – Remain 46, Leave 47 (Remain 49, Leave 51)
YouGov (25th Oct) – Remain 44, Leave 43 (Remain 51, Leave 49)
BMG (24th Oct) – Remain 45, Leave 43 (Remain 51, Leave 49)
Survation/ITN (12th Oct) – Remain 44, Leave 44 (Remain 50, Leave 50)

All except the Gallup International poll are within the margin of error of the referendum result (I think the contrast is because the Gallup poll has a very large proportion of university educated respondents, which correlates with support for EU membership). On average they show only a small movement towards Remain and – looking closer – even that may be illusionary. Looking at the actual tables for the polls none of them show any real net movement between Remain and Leave voters, the small move to Remain is only because people who didn’t vote last time claim they are more likely to vote Remain this time. I would treat that with some degree of scepticism – of course, it could be those people took the result for granted and would be spurred into action in a second referendum… or it could be those who couldn’t be bothered last time probably wouldn’t be bothered in a second referendum either.

In addition, YouGov have asked a regular question for the Times on whether people think leaving was the right or wrong way for Britain to vote. That too shows no obvious evidence of Bregret:

YouGov (5th Dec) – Right 44%, Wrong 42%
YouGov (29th Nov) – Right 44%, Wrong 45%
YouGov (15th Nov) – Right 46%, Wrong 43%
YouGov (12th Oct) – Right 45%, Wrong 43%

Both sides of the debate have taken other figures to try and claim that the balance of opinion has shifted in their direction. In recent days I’ve seen several people who really should know better getting excited over voodoo polls in local newspapers that claim to show a big shift towards Remain – rather than let this post get overtaken by a rant, I’ve addressed that elsewhere. On the other side of the divide, some Brexit supporters have a tendency to misinterpret this YouGov poll to claim shows 68% now support leaving the EU. This is a little disingenuous – the poll doesn’t show that support for leaving has grown from 52% to 68%, it’s a different question asking about what the government should do. The 68% includes 23% of people who say they do NOT personally support Brexit, but that the government has a duty to do it.

Neither does there appear to be much current appetite for a second referendum. ComRes for CNN found 35% thought there should a referendum on the terms of exit, but 53% thought there should not. A similar recent question by Opinium for Keiran Pedley found very similar results – people opposed a second referendum on the terms of Brexit by 52% to 33% and also opposed one if the economy worsened, again by 52% to 33%. A poll by YouGov found that only 26% of people thought it was legitimate for those opposed to Brexit to campaign for a second referendum, 59% thought it was not.

As things stand public opinion does not appear to have moved since the referendum and people do not want a referendum, but as ever they are only a snapshot, not a prediction of how attitudes to Brexit may change in the future. Is there anything we can tell from current polls about how public attitudes towards Brexit might develop? There are two obvious “known knowns” ahead that could potentially change attitudes to Brexit: the negotiations and the economic impact.

The financial angle depends on what the economic impacts are and how long they take to show themselves. I am not an economist so won’t seek to speculate. I will urge caution though about polls showing that people would turn against Brexit if it cost them x amount of money, caused a recession, unemployment or so on. Should the economy collapse, I have no doubt that it would have a major impact on attitudes to both the government and to Brexit. I am less confident about what impact more modest economic bad news will have. Polls attempting to measure this assume that people will blame any economic ups and down on Brexit, and I don’t think they will – or at least, they will interpret it through the prism of their existing support or opposition. People who opposed Brexit will blame economic bad news on it, but people who supported it will blame it on other factors, or on obstructive Europeans, or Remoaners talking Britain down or whatnot. It is the nature of human beings that we are very good at defending our beliefs against data that might challenge them.

More interesting are the negotiations. We don’t yet know what sort of Brexit the government will be aiming for (well, not in any useful terms. We know what colour Brexit they want, but this is of limited use in judging potential public reactions) but given there are different possibilities and people have different preferences, once firm targets are announced some people will likely be disappointed.

Lots of polling evidence shows that the public would like to maintain free trade with the EU, but would also like to limit EU immigration – in Boris Johnson’s words, the public’s preference is clearly to have their cake and eat it. This is unlikely to be available.

If they have to choose, the polling evidence suggests the public are very evenly divided. There have been various polls using various different wordings that amount to a forced choice between EU market access or cutting EU immigration – all show a tight divide. An ORB poll this month found people agreeing by 44% to 40% that more control over immigration was more important than keeping EU free trade; a YouGov poll in November asking a forced choice between market access for British exporters and reducing immigration broke down as 49% for market access, 51% for immigration; ComRes in November found 42% would prioritise the single market over immigration, 43% would prioritise cutting EU immigration; NatCen found 49% of people said we should accept freedom of movement as the price of staying in the single market, 51% that we should not.

Looking only at immigration vs market access is probably taking to tight a focus anyway. I suspect the public will judge it as a overall package – as a whole, does it seem like a good deal for Britain? Even there is evidence is contradictory though: Opinium asked people to pick between a “soft Brexit” scenario and a “hard Brexit” scenario and people preferred the former by 41% to 35% (though the question also made clear that soft Brexit was economically better, which the public won’t necessarily think). YouGov have asked people to rate a number of scenarios – a hard Brexit on WTO terms, a limited trade deal along the Canadian model and a Norway type deal remaining in the EEA. On those a Canadian type deal polls significantly better than a Norway type relationship – 50% think it would be good for Britain, 65% think it would respect the referendum and 51% would be happy. In comparison the figures for a Norway type outcome would be 34% good for Britain, 33% respect the referendum, 37% happy (WTO terms would also be bad – 34% good for Britain, 66% respect result, 37% happy).

That is the narrow path which Theresa May must navigate – a Brexit that doesn’t mess up Britain’s trading relationship with Europe so much it sinks the economy, yet is not perceived by Leave voters as a betrayal. If we end up with a Brexit that has tougher consequences that some Leave voters expected then there is potential for public opinion to move against it. On the other hand, if we end up with a Brexit that retains more links with the European Union than some Leave voters hoped for there is the potential for a betrayal narrative to take hold, presumably to the benefit of UKIP. Either situation may bring division within the Conservative party, which has only a wafer thin majority to begin with.

Ultimately, I suppose those are two questions that matter about public opinion on Brexit. One, will public opinion move sufficiently against Brexit to make it avoidable? Two, how will it impact on the popularity of the Conservative government and opposition parties?

To answer the first one, as yet there has been little or no net movement in opinion since the referendum, the majority of people think the government have a duty to implement the results of the referendum and and the majority of people are opposed to revisiting the question. However, given the vote was only 52-48 it wouldn’t take much to tip opinion in favour of staying once the consequences become a bit more visible. It remains to be seen if the negotiations or economic developments do change things. Getting majority support for a second referendum is a much bigger ask and would be a necessity if there is any chance of a second referendum (well, counting 1975 a third referendum) has any chance of delivering a different result to 2016. Anti-elitism was an important factor in the vote, and the perception that an uncaring and distant political elite didn’t like what the public said so wants them to vote again differently would be a very powerful narrative.

As for the political parties, Brexit is the mission that has been forced upon Theresa May’s government and the yardstick they will inevitably be judged by. Thus far the public think they have been carrying it out badly, yet this has not damaged their position in the polls (presumably because it is still early days). If Brexit doesn’t work out well for them, they will suffer – especially given the high expectations of some Brexit supporters. The government’s great challenge will be to sell the compromises that will be necessary, the difficulty will be persuading the public that such compromises are either unavoidable or in Britain’s interests… as opposed to being the result of government ineptitude, backsliding or lack of ambition. If people believe the latter – that a government led by someone who never really wanted Brexit anyway is failing to be ambitious enough in our Brexit negotiations, I imagine it will be UKIP who benefit. If they deliver Brexit that’s hardness is beyond doubt, but the economy collapses, who knows who will benefit…


475 Responses to “Where public opinion on Brexit stands”

1 6 7 8 9 10
  1. Something that puzzles me.

    I completely agree that Lab’s incoherence on Brexit is problematic in general terms, but I’m not sure I get why it’s assumed that taking a relatively pro-Europe position would be an electoral disaster.

    We’re always being told that under FPTP Lab’s votes are inefficiently distributed – piled up in safe seats. I’m assuming (perhaps rather lazily) that these safe seats are also the ones that are thought to be Brexity. Surely Lab can afford to lose a few Brexity votes in safe seats (especially if they split between Con and UKIP)?

  2. @Carfrew

    How on earth did the LIbDems ‘enable’ the referendum?
    The bill was passed by 544 to 53, a majority of 491, so their eight votes were utterly irrelevant!

    I’m sure many LibDems regret the decision to go into coalition – but that is a different point from claiming that they are opportunistic in regards to their policy on the EU.

    It is also starting to fade into polling history – since the Coalition you could make an argument that the Tories have precipitated the biggest crisis in UK history for forty years by putting party before country, that Labour have chosen the most unelectable leader in British politics for 50 years, and UKIP have demonstrated a staggering ability among their leaders to in-fight like pre-school children.

    In that context the LibDem decision in 2010 to go into coalition with the Tories may not look quite so unforgiveable to their ex-supporters…

  3. The idea of posting good economic news on a polling site is presumably to support the idea that everything is going swimmingly so far. To that extent it’s polemical, and grates a bit.

    However, one could add a bit of balance by highlighting good economic news from those countries allegedly groaning under the yoke of the eurozone. For instance, Spain has just enjoyed in 2016 the biggest fall in unemployment on record, and the fourth consecutive year of improvement. Since the end of 2013, unemployment there has fallen by a million and employment has grown by 1.5 million. Likewise, it has faster GDP growth than the UK and no balance of payments deficit.

    If you find my posting of that superfluous and irritating, then I’m happy to support an embargo on economic point-scoring.

  4. SOMERJOHN

    Personally very happy with you posting that. There is some good news on some EU economies and for those interested why not post it. I don’t find it irritating at all.

  5. SORBUS

    Your recollection of an in/out referendum being first floated by Clegg [1] in response to Con calls for a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty is spot on. The Cons wouldn’t play ball, if my recollection is correct!

    [1] Clegg was leader from December 2007 and certainly there in the final 2008 votes, so it is just possible than Ming the merciless was still leader when the post-Lisbon debates started.

  6. @bigfatron

    “The bill was passed by 544 to 53, a majority of 491, so their eight votes were utterly irrelevant!
    I’m sure many LibDems regret the decision to go into coalition – but that is a different point from claiming that they are opportunistic in regards to their policy on the EU.”

    ————-

    Lol, propping up the coalition made it easier to have such a bill in the first place, and again that is without considering policies that associated with a massive rise in the salience of immigration and its impact on Brexit

  7. SOMERJOHN

    I should have added that posting UK economic news is meaningful on a polling site, as I would suggest it helps to explain both the current situation of the parties in the polls, and the fact that the voters view of Brexit it appears is largely unchanged. The economic situation in the EU is also interesting as it may well affect how voters vote in EU countries holding polls this year and that could affect attitudes to Brexit negotiations when they happen. I have been careful just to give the facts with the minimum of comment

  8. @Bigfatron

    “In that context the LibDem decision in 2010 to go into coalition with the Tories may not look quite so unforgiveable to their ex-supporters…”

    ———

    Re: fading into history, that does to some extent depend how affected voters are. Peeps in the south east enjoying the economic benefit of all that infrastructure spend and QE etc. might be most forgiving for eggers…

  9. Way to much crowing going on by some.

    Crow when its all sorted and we’ve come out the other side as some people will be hurt by Brexit.

  10. @ Carfrew

    I don’t think many floating voters select their party of preference by reference to whether they have personally benefitted from quantitative easing!

    If they believe they have been impacted by immigration then they are most likely to be tempted by UKIP, or be attached to the more traditionalist wing of the Tory / Labour parties.

    In all these cases these voters are not the pool that the LibDems are attempting to fish in; they are pitching for moderate Tory and Labour voters who are pro-Europe, or possibly neutral-ish, on Europe who will be concerned by those parties’ respective moves to right and left.

    That looks like a viable approach to me…

  11. BIGFATRON
    @ALLAN CHRISTIE

    “A bit weird to describe the LibDems as ‘opportunistic’ on Brexit v Remain, given they have had, and still have, the most consistent policy on Europe of any of the three historically major parties. In fact it is hard to think of how they could have been more consistent about their approach!”

    “Their continued pro-Europe stance is a bit of a gamble, but they have the smallest proportion of supporters that are pro-Brexit so have little to lose, and appear to have 40 -45% of the electorate to target, which – for them – is a huge pool to fish in.
    If Brexit is a massive success then this approach is problematic, but if that happens the Tories are a shoe-in for 2020 and probably 2025 as well anyway”
    ________

    I agree they have been the most pro EU party in England and their message has been consistent but Labour who are also pro EU have accepted the result.

    The difference is Labour know they could end up losing seats to UKIP if they take a strong pro EU stance but with the Lib/Dems they are being opportunistic and trying to cash in on the anti Brexit vote for their own narrow political gains.

    The Lib/Dems are never going to get into power this side of Mars on their own so of course they can come out with elaborate soundbites like rejoining the EU post Brexit.
    The polls show as far as the Brexit result goes it’s business as normal and public opinion hasn’t changed.

    I’m looking across to Trafalgar square from my desk.and someone is carrying a EU flag. Where are the pigeons when you need them? ;-)

  12. @Carfrew

    I agree with your points, but would add that May ( to a lesser extent) faces similar problems in trying to appeal to both Leave and Remain voters, however outperforms Corbyn on competency/economy. Also Miliband from the start had low scores on leadership and competency (and the majority of PLP and members voted for his brother) so I am not sure that 31% is the party’s upper bar so to speak.

    ‘But in the meantime Labour, whoever leads, have a thorny problem.’

    Very true – which is in part why I am a little surprised that May is not going for the jugular. For Labour the Brexit issue could resolve itself by 2020 and they might have a more electorate friendly leader.

  13. PETE
    “Way to much crowing going on by some.
    Crow when its all sorted and we’ve come out the other side as some people will be hurt by Brexit”
    ___________

    Most people have accepted there will be some bumpy rides ahead of us but life before the EU referendum was also bumpy and I’m sure many people have been hurt by the UK’s membership of the EU…Fishermen anyone?

  14. @Sorbus

    I completely agree that Lab’s incoherence on Brexit is problematic in general terms, but I’m not sure I get why it’s assumed that taking a relatively pro-Europe position would be an electoral disaster

    I think rather than a disaster its more that it wont gain them a significant net gain in votes – and in the marginals with the govt current stance they would gain votes from UKIP and potentially direct from Labour, or UKIP take disaffected Leave Labour votes to the advantage of the Tories.

  15. @bigfatron

    Ah, so you’re quibbling. Yes, they may be unaware of QE itself but nonetheless benefit economically quite handsomely and hence be more forgiving.

    Obviously the lib Dems might not expect many votes from peeps impacted by immigration, they might not fish in that pool, my point is that Lib dem actions may have reduced the size of the pool.

    Also it’s not just about those actually impacted but also those persuaded by things like vans that it’s an issue even if they are not actually affected as much as they think.

    But with immigration you are getting crossed wires. I wasn’t on about lib Dems looking for votes among those who are anti free movement etc., I was pointing out the problem of lib Dems saying they’re pro EU if they enabled policies that saw people choosing to vote leave.

  16. @Redrich

    What makes this all difficult, and hence very interesting, is that it’s a collection of factors hard to tease apart. It’s partly the leader, partly policies, partly the media etc.

    Peeps tend to settle on one of the three. But to me it’s all of it and it interacts. And actually there’s a fourth thing, the response of other parties. Tories have been moving left in some respects. Obviously this will diminish Corbyn’s polling but is this really him being ineffective?

    Similarly, he might get pilloried in the media, but not so much on policy? Polling on policy might be more favourable.

    So you then blame him personally instead but how much is that his fault. Miliband some too, and so did Cameron and Osborne before they relented on Levinson.

    So even if we accept Corbyn has issues, it’s not a given Labour’s fortunes will rise that much under someone else. Look at Scotland. Keziah was supposed to be more voter friendly, for eggers…

  17. @Carfrew
    You may think I am quibbling, that is your privilege; I prefer to refrain from expressing personal views about your comments, AW has enough of that sort of thing to deal with already!

    Your proposition seems to be that the LibDems can’t express pro Europe views as they have been in a coalition (led to negative sentiments about the EU.

    Ignoring for a moment the question about whether these were policies they actively supported, or simply had to go along with as junior coalition partners, this still doesn’t make sense; because on that basis every single party has done something to make voters unhappy with the status quo and would therefore be obliged to be vehemently anti-EU!

    Similarly the Tories could never be supportive of the NHS, Labour would have to be virulently anti-business, and both parties would have to be pacifists given their repeated cuts to the Armed Forces! This ‘logic’ leads to some very strange conclusions…

    @Allan Christie

    So your view is that the LibDems are ‘opportunistic’ because they have not changed their policy to support Brexit, even though the great majority of their members , MPs and supporters are opposed to Brexit.

    Instead they are sticking with the policy that they have held consistently for at least fifty years and is endorsed by their policy conference.

    Surely if they changed to advocating Brexit having opposed it for fifty years that would be an almost textbook example of opportunism?

    You seem to have an odd definition of ‘opportunistic’ which appears to be diametrically opposed to the one I am familiar with!

  18. In 1992 when interest rates went up 5% in one day and we left the ERM the government of the day got the blame. Even though the official opposition had the same policy.If Brexit did cause a shock to the economy maybe the conservatives this time would just change prime minister to mitigate any effect.
    Changes at the top short term helped them in 1990 and last year.Repeat and rinse new face seem to work for the conservatives who are quick to react and pragmatic apart from 92 ,when Major should have gone.

  19. SORBUS

    I think Labour are looking wistfully at the votes they already lost to UKIP in 2015, which cost them a good few marginals to the Tories.

    I think in the summer they also rather complacently decided the Lib Dems were finished so they could safely chase the anti-immigration vote.

    But the reality now is that by refusing to back the Lib Dems on another referendum they risk losing more of those marginals to the Tories because of some of the middle class Labour vote defecting to the Lib Dems. For better or worse the Richmond Park by-election gave sufficient oxygen of publicity to Farron that a large proportion of electorate now realise they are the only pro-Remain party left in England (other than the Greens, who have slipped below the electoral radar altogether lately). The fact that Farron is now the antichrist according to the Mail and the Express will only make him more popular with Labour voting Remainers…

  20. Andrew111

    You’re making my point for me. Were Lab to opt for a pro-Europe-ish stance (which might, come the next election mean supporting a soft Brexit) they ought to be able (all other things being equal, which they’re not atm) to pick up votes from anti-Brexit/ anti-hard-Brexit Cons and that ought to benefit them in some Con-Lab marginals.

    The Richmond byelection suggests that Brexit may now be as salient for pro-Europeans as for ardent Brexiters. One question is how salient it will be if the government opts for a soft Brexit.

    I started looking for a map showing vote distributions (so that I could check UKIP strength in those Midland marginals) but the connection was slow so I went back to doing paid work!

  21. @Pete

    I certainly think it’s way too early to be counting any chickens on the economic impact of the Leave vote.

    However, “sharing” economic news is not something that is entirely restricted to Brexiteers. There was just a teeny, weeny bit of show and tell about the falls in the pound and FTSE in the immediate aftermath, if you remember, and none of it was from The Other Howard.

    And I am quite sure that if the 2017 economic numbers aren’t great, there will be a good deal of “crowing” to look forward to from Remain supporters.

    The only thing that is certain is that, whatever the outcome, not a single person on this blog will take that outcome as a reason to alter their views or admit to having been wrong about anything….

  22. Neil A

    “The only thing that is certain is that, whatever the outcome, not a single person on this blog will take that outcome as a reason to alter their views or admit to having been wrong about anything….”

    OK. I recognise that you are exaggerating for the sake of effect, but that does do a bit of disservice to many on this site.

    While few (if any) will abandon their fundamental world view, many (including your good self) have accepted that they were wrong about what they posted on here, when corrected.

    It is what makes this the most pleasant political site to visit.

  23. Re: spanish economy

    I note posters approval but see 11:10 business post on BBC about the co;;apse of wages in Spain, italy and Greece.

    would say more but understanding of economics only as good a experts!

  24. Perhaps we could nominate TOH to give us economic news whether good or bad, in a totally impartial fashion, to save anyone else the bother of filtering it through a Leave or Remain filter?
    What aw is to polls he could be to economic data ( perhaps sometimes pointing out which measures are more trustworthy, and why)

  25. The BBC have a new Q&A from Profs Curtice & Kerley on Scotland’s 2017 council elections. Well worth a glance.

  26. S THOMAS
    Re: spanish economy

    Yes. A sad state of affairs in the years covered – 2007 to 2014. Happily for Spain, things do seem to have been improving for the last few years.

    The 11:10 entry on today’s BBC Business Live is indeed quite interesting.

  27. @Neil A

    Aside from the fact that peeps sometimes do admit to error, and more just modify their position without telegraphing it, quite a lot of the time, discussions help form and inform opinion in areas where peeps had little prior knowledge and hence aren’t that invested. E.g. You inform my opinions on policing discussing things I’d not even been aware of.

    It’s not all about changing minds. You can test your arguments too, which is useful even if no one else changes their mind. Plus I have to disagree, I think outcomes do alter some views. E.g. the peeps who thought Tories couldn’t win the election, most of those have probably revised their view.

    Incidentally, I meant to write about it but there was a New Scientist article which explained research showing peeps are quite influenced by their peer groups, more than you might think…

  28. Barbazenzero

    The implications for political opinion across those parts of Scotland, where party voting remains dominant, will best be measured by 1st preference votes, but the preference transfers will give us more nuanced understanding.

    Some voters will rank all the candidates or some selection of those available, others just their own party’s.

    The actual number of seats gained by each party is probably the least useful measure! Even within an individual council, it may make very little difference as to how the council is actually run – though the political posturing rights will be exploited by any partisan majority or coalition administration.

    In 2012, the 1st preference vote shares were SNP 32.3% : SLab 31.7% : SCon 13.3% : Ind 11.8% : SLD 6.6% : SGP 2.3%.

    On current poling, it might be anticipated that SLab would drop to 3rd (or even 4th) place. Can Kez survive that – or will we see yet another SLab leader (Sarwar?)

  29. @TOH

    “Many Leavers want to be in an even wider place than that, dealing unencombered throughout the World and not restricted by the EU”

    I honestly think that’s wishful thinking – I knocked on hundreds of doors during the referendum and heard loads of different comments about leaving the EU but not a single one that resembled that sentiment..

  30. @Andrew111

    Until @toh heeds your summons I thought this info is interesting about one of the drivers of the current UK economy:

    “The latest figures from the Bank of England show unsecured consumer credit, which includes credit cards, car loans and second mortgages, grew by 10.8% in the year to November to £192.2bn, picking up pace on the previous month to grow at its fastest rate in more than 11 years.”

  31. OLDNAT

    I agree fully with the first two thirds of your post. The count of “last elected” candidates by party will give nothing more than “bragging rights”, although the media will doubtless spin the final numbers to suit their own Weltanschauung.

    it might be anticipated that SLab would drop to 3rd (or even 4th) place.

    I will be mildly surprised if they don’t drop to 3rd place but suspect they would have to do something really stupid to end up 4th.

    However, something that is only just beginning to happen is SCon’s acceptance of Brexit. Both SLab & SLD have at least a chance of getting a share of previously SCon remainers if they campaign sensibly. On past performances they won’t

    Can Kez survive that – or will we see yet another SLab leader (Sarwar?)

    I’m no Kez fan but I’d have thought that however badly SLab do, the remains of the party would be begging Kez to stay if the alternative is Sarwar Jr!

  32. @ HIRETON

    “The latest figures from the Bank of England show unsecured consumer credit, which includes credit cards, car loans and second mortgages, grew by 10.8% in the year to November to £192.2bn, picking up pace on the previous month to grow at its fastest rate in more than 11 years.”

    Cheap credit is certainly feeding a mini-boom in some sectors – there’s a big construction boom and 2016 saw the highest level of car sales ever.

    Sustainable? Maybe, maybe not. Don’t forget that Trumpist policies will affect us well before the rest of the EU though….

  33. Barbazenzero

    4th behind Independents/Others (I should really have included the 2.3% votes for localists along with Independents – boosting them to 13%) doesn’t seem that unlikely.

    “the remains of the party would be begging Kez to stay if the alternative is Sarwar Jr!”

    They might do, though they might be overruled by BBC Scotland, which seems to be pushing Sarwar Jr. forward, at the moment.

    Kremlinology was always very difficult. McQuarrieology is an impenetrable knot of family and political ties that even Theseus would have found it hard to hack through!

  34. “May’s joint chiefs of staff, Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill” – why does always remind me of Haldeman and Ehrichmann? Maybe it’s just the regular press reports about how they filter the advisors who influence her?

    https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-01-05/may-said-to-send-top-aides-to-u-s-to-build-bridges-with-trump

    Anyway, I’ve dug out my books on Nixon, Watergate, Kissinger and other aides, and re-reading them.

  35. OLDNAT

    Re Sarwar, I don’t watch or listen to BBC Scotland often enough to have noticed, but I’ll take your word for it. You’re certainly correct re McQuarrieology.

    Re May, I take your point re Nixon & Co.

    An early night needed so TTFN.

  36. As Oldnat is reading about presidential aids, I’m reading Jack London, in particular the Iron Heel.

    Anyway, as the FED is almost certainly putting up the interest rates in the near future, credit fuelled, and weak exchange rate based economic stimuli may encounter a little problem.

    It (or anything else) really doesn’t seem to matter to the polls. Just very strange, even if I could create a narrative, but I distinctly dislike existentialism.

  37. @IMPERIUM3

    “I can’t speak for everyone, but my Leave vote was cast because I deeply dislike the whole institution itself and what I believe to be its end goal of political unification of Europe. An organised dissolution of the whole EU (to be replaced by a simple trade framework resembling the early EEC, supported by the existing network of alliances such as NATO) would be infinitely preferable to the hazards of Brexit, but that obviously wasn’t an option on June 23rd.”

    Interesting – your views are diametrically the opposite of mine. I favour European unification and make no bones about it – I see nationalism as very 20th century and the bast*rd child of WW1. Multinational empires existed happily before WW1 for several centuries without many issues, so why can we not have a loosely federated Europe? It can work, and work well.
    The old EEC is simply not an option, and even staying in the single market is not going to happen without accepting free movement and the ECJ, so you are deluding yourself. It’s very unlikely that the EU will dissolve itself, simply because most people on the continent don’t see it as a big issue; the big issue there is Muslim extremism and immigration from OUTSIDE the EU.

  38. Just catching up with the economic stats, and how very interesting they look. The usual fluff about how remainers were wrong, and Brexit is great, but there is some significance in these figures.

    The service PMI implies and equivalent current sector rate of annualised expansion of around 4%, which appears way beyond what have been seeing and miles above what pretty much everyone predicts for 2017, so a first note of caution here.

    As ever, I will warn of what we often see with the PMI data – the swings go too low and too high, when compared to actual output data. The very sharp PMI collapse post Brexit vote was not matched by the real data – which actually increased. Now, the real data shows a slight slowing, while the PMI data keeps climbing upwards. Meanwhile, the services PMI does report continuing and substantial price rises.

    Today’s car sales data also looks really positive, although a less reported aspect of this is that private consumer sales have fallen for the last nine months, falling by 5.5% in December. The market is being propped up by business fleet purchases, rather than consumers. It’s also worth noting that the registrations include cars registered to dealers (eg pre sale) and some dealers are saying manufacturers are offloading vehicles to dealers, who then have to heavily discount. As many of 400,000 of the 2.69m registrations have been claimed to be unsold vehicles.

    I think we remain at a significant economic inflection point. Growth is modest, but defying expectations, which is leading some to become overconfident and proclaim no Brexit impact. However, inflation really is beginning to build up, consumer credit lines are heavily inflated, and there seems to be an overconfidence soaking through the economy.

    This may go in either direction, but the elements are there for a relatively rapid turnaround, and a few poor sets of figures might well start to spook an economy that is a good deal more fragile than many care to admit.

  39. Laszlo

    “I distinctly dislike existentialism.”

    As Woody Allen says “What you doing Saturday night?”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mgqdk7LR90U

  40. @ALLAN CHRISTIE

    “I agree they have been the most pro EU party in England and their message has been consistent but Labour who are also pro EU have accepted the result.”

    Erm, not quite. Corbyn and the Labour left have accepted the result, but then the Labour left was never very pro-European to begin with. I would confidently say that most Labour MPs and supporters are not at all pro-Brexit.

    “The difference is Labour know they could end up losing seats to UKIP if they take a strong pro EU stance but with the Lib/Dems they are being opportunistic and trying to cash in on the anti Brexit vote for their own narrow political gains.”

    Labour are too worried about seats – that’s the problem. They need to stand up for values instead of indulging working class prejudices. Again, it shows a total lack of moral leadership from the top within the Labour Party.

    “The Lib/Dems are never going to get into power this side of Mars on their own so of course they can come out with elaborate soundbites like rejoining the EU post Brexit.
    The polls show as far as the Brexit result goes it’s business as normal and public opinion hasn’t changed.”

    At this stage the polls are meaningless because nothing has happened with regard to Brexit. Public opinion cannot change unless something happens to make it change! The Lib-Dems have nailed their colours firmly to the EU mast and will gain as a result. Labour are faffing around like headless chickens, not knowing what to do.

    “I’m looking across to Trafalgar square from my desk.and someone is carrying a EU flag. Where are the pigeons when you need them? ;-)”

    Probably crapping on some Brexiteers! Even the pigeons know who to pick.

  41. “I’m sure many people have been hurt … Fishermen anyone?”
    @ALLAN CHRISTIE January 5th, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    Can’t say I’ve noticed any fishermen round my way.

  42. @OLLYT

    “I honestly think that’s wishful thinking – I knocked on hundreds of doors during the referendum and heard loads of different comments about leaving the EU but not a single one that resembled that sentiment..”

    Indeed. People generally voted leave because they simply do not want any immigration, from anywhere, not just the EU. The globalists like Gove and Johnson are a small minority of the various opinion groups backing the Brexit vote.

  43. @Peter Cairns @Patrickbrian Re: Ireland leaving the EU

    I don’t think you can dismiss this possibility so glibly and I’ll restate the reasons why:

    Ireland’s Exports with rEU amount to 36% and imports from rEU amount to 38%. Very significant agreed. Biut that leads

    However a large proportion of these imports and exports flow through the UK.

    Personally I don’t think this is the defining issue, though their trade and freedom of movement of goods, services and people with the UK is critically important obviously.

    A hard brexit is an existential crisis for Ireland. Re-erecting a border between the North and South is likely to happen if the EU insists on Tariffs if the UK will no longer accept Freedom of Movement from the continent.

    What that ex-diplomat says makes total sense. Ireland has to fight for a Free Trade agreement and it needs to elicit the support of other countries in the EU. I hardly think it’s likely that other Ireland diplomats and government officials are not realizing the same thing!

    The question remains what happens if the EU federalists refuse any accommodation for Ireland?

    At that point the game may well change in my view.

  44. @ TANCRED
    “People generally voted leave because they simply do not want any immigration, from anywhere, not just the EU. The globalists like Gove and Johnson are a small minority of the various opinion groups backing the Brexit vote.”

    Hang on, that’s a very broad brush statement. I think a lot of people with negative perceptions of uncontrolled mass immigration from the EU voted to leave. But I think it’s a small minority who don’t want any immigration – we all benefit from high quality immigration, be that doctors, engineers or footballers.

  45. SEA CHANGE @Peter Cairns @Patrickbrian
    Re-erecting a border between the North and South is likely to happen if the EU insists on Tariffs if the UK will no longer accept Freedom of Movement from the continent.

    Just how do you anticipate how this would happen?

    Would the people of NI be given the decision in a further [NI only] referendum as specified in the Belfast Agreement?

    Would May resile from her promise of no “borders of the past” or just repeal the Belfast Agreement with the approval of the Westminster parliament?

    Given that the UK will be the party breaking the the agreement, how much do you think it will cost to create a 500 Km “hard” border?

    We may get more information when the SC rulings are published but the Belfast Agreement issues are very likely to go to the ECJ.

  46. @BARBAZENZERO

    There are no easy answers as to what might happen if the EU demands something akin to WTO rules. This is the scenario that must be considered in some depth, not just by the UK but crucially for Ireland as it impacts on the Irish the most. It’s why I think it is foolish to dismiss any notion of Ireland leaving the EU.

  47. Fishermen?

    Their bad deal came about because Westminster/Whitehall regarded the industry as ‘dispensable’ back in the 1970s and 80s. Had the UK government cared about fishing as much as it cared about financial services the fishing industry would still be thriving in many parts of the UK where it is now non-existent.

    Or so I believe to be the case……

  48. * my 1st post above missed a sentence – This leaves almost 2/3rds of Ireland’s trade with the rest of the world. Approximately 1/3 UK & USA and 1/3 rest of the world give or take a few percentage points.

  49. @JONESINBANGOR “Hang on, that’s a very broad brush statement. I think a lot of people with negative perceptions of uncontrolled mass immigration from the EU voted to leave. But I think it’s a small minority who don’t want any immigration – we all benefit from high quality immigration, be that doctors, engineers or footballers.”

    Yes agreed. I suspect no more than 20% of Leavers want a total fortress. That’s self-defeating. In every poll I have seen at least 70% of people consistently say that immigration needs to come down and be under control.

    As to Tancred’s statement. Before he said Brexit had “nothing to do with immigration” and now he is saying it was everything to do with it, and that most people want zero immigration. Two polar opposite views, both of which polling has consistently shown as almost certainly wrong. Maybe he can expand and explain?

  50. BZ

    Many thanks for that link to Curtice, as you say rather interesting.

1 6 7 8 9 10