Yesterday I got a few questions about a new BMG poll in the Independent that had voting intentions in a hypothetical EU referendum tomorrow at 52% remain, 48% leave. The Indy wrote this up with a pretty hyperbolic “Majority want to stay!!!”. The full results – along with a fair more reasonable and caveated write-up by BMG themselves – are here.

So, what is the bigger picture in terms of attitudes to Brexit, and is there any sign of people changing their minds?

I should start by pointing out that how people would vote in a hypothetical referendum tomorrow is not necessarily the same question as what people think should happen now (perhaps surprisingly!). If you ask people what should happen now, a clear majority say Britain should leave the EU. If you ask people how they’d vote in a referendum now, they are split down the middle between Remain and Leave. The difference appears to be because there is a chunk of people who personally favour remain, but think the government has a duty to leave following the referendum. Neither of these is necessarily a “better” measure of public opinion, opinion is best understood by looking at both: that is, the public are split equally on what they’d prefer, but some remainers think that the referendum means Brexit should go ahead anyway.

If we do look specifically at how people would vote in a referendum tomorrow, there is comparatively little change since 2016. Most Remain voters would still vote Remain, most Leave voters would still vote Leave. People who did not vote at all in 2016 tend to split in favour of Remain, meaning that the overall figure tends to be around a 50-50 split. Polls, of course, typically have a margin of error of around 2 or 3 points. This means if the actual position is a 50-50 split, then normal sample variation will inevitably spit out some results that are 52-48, or 48-52, or whatever. This is the unavoidable result of normal statistical variance, however, it does mean that now and again there will be a poll showing Remain with a small lead, which pro-Remain sorts will get wrongly overexcited about.

In terms of a trend, my impression is that there is some small degree of movement against Brexit… but it is very small. It is hard to discern a trend from questions asking the referendum question because they are infrequent, different companies use different methods and there may be different “house effects”. BMG have probably asked it more regularly than any other company, and looking at just their figures (in the link above) there is a slight trend towards Remain.

YouGov regularly ask a question about whether Britain was right or wrong to vote to Leave the EU (below), which also shows a very tight race, but a slight trend towards Remain. Last year it tended to show slightly more people thought it was the right decision than the wrong decision, now it tends to hover around neck-and-neck.

In summary, there hasn’t been any vast sea-change in attitudes towards Brexit. Most people who voted Remain would do so again, most people who voted Leave would do so again. There is some movement back and forth, but it mostly cancels itself out. If you look at the two most frequently repeated questions, the BMG question on referendum VI and the YouGov question on whether the decision was right or wrong, then there does appear to be movement towards Remain… but it is as yet pretty small and pretty slow. In short, there are some “bregrets”, but not enough to really get excited about. If there is going to be a big change, I still wouldn’t expect to see it until the leaving deal (and the consequences of it) become a bit clearer.


428 Responses to “Bregrets, there are a few… but then again, too few to mention”

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  1. @Catman

    I did not challenge the legality of Uber’s operations, or indeed that of diesel.

    I pointed out the problem of going by whether something makes people happy or is revolutionary.

  2. I used to think that the EU could never strike a deal with us because of the number of parties that had to agree. Recently, however, I have been reading Varoufakis;s book about the Greek experience of negotiating with Europe. The thing that comes across is their total rigidity, a point epitomised by the German finance minister who ended a conversation by remarking that if the EU changed course every time there was an election nothing would ever happen at all. As far as I can see this rigidity is exemplified in their dealings with Switzerland over free movement of labout and Poland over their accession to the EU. As far as I can see they haven’t shifted their position one iota since the start of the negotiations. They keep on telling us that they are not going to shift it and I suspect they are telling the truth, If they allow flexibility we won’t get a deal because not everyone will agree to it. If they don’t allow flexibility we will only get a deal if we capitulate. It is not a happy situation,

  3. Though of course, just going by legality can be problematic too. It might be legal to use careful scripts to sell stuff to the old and vulnerable that they don’t really need or want. Whether it’s a good thing is something else.

    As a green are you ok with it being legal to emit loads of CO2 putting climate at risk? It’s legal so that’s it then, nothing further need be said or done?

  4. @Catman

    My post immediately above about it being legality of CO2 emissions should be addressed to you also if course!

  5. Stark und Stabil. :-) :-) :-)

  6. peterw: I can’t see how this might reconcile. How can about 2 in 10 of the electorate be apparently saying: “we should leave now, so I’d vote for remain if I could tomorrow.”?
    I think I would fall into this. I vehemently oppose the likes of ToH, but absent a referendum I think the quickest way back in is actually to fall out with no deal.

    The other reasoning [which I don’t go along with], is that the certainty of a deal is better than being in the current limbo. But for me the current limbo is all part of the backdrop for realisation to dawn that there can be no satisfactory Brexit because there is no agreement on what a satisfactory Brexit should be.

    I have this sort of gut feel that current polling questions are not adequate to tease out the complexity of what people feel about Brexit.

    Some of the very few Leavers I know [who still speak to me!] are as adamantly pro-brexit as ever, but are in despair about the mess the government is in. They are firmly in the Brexit means Brexit camp and don’t seem to grasp or care about the different options for Brexit. Unfortunately, this means that they are ripe for Brexit regret about any brexit they get – but this will only come out once they see the brexit they get.

    With Remainers, it is increasingly a struggle to remain rational in the face of what is seen to be a barmy pursuit of something which will lead to disappointment all round. There are certainly people I know as Remainers who just want the process to complete and go away, who would probably give ‘leave’ answers to polling at the moment.

  7. Colin

    People getting upset because the delegates trust momentum more than the establishment. In this case .stitch up’ means democratic decision I don’t agree with. We don’t know how much, if at all, the momentum advice influenced the vote but individuals are free to consider any advice they want. Personally I’m sick to the back teeth of Brexit and don’t want to waste anymore time talking about it but also I trust Stammer and would rather leave Brexit strategy to him

  8. PETER – IndyRef and EUref both had a fairly significant leap of faith for Yes and Leave. Arguably Yes (IndyRef) was the larger leap due to the shared currency, much higher trade, type of trade, etc but both sets of voters took a status quo situation and placed it against a speculative unknown. Both refs were also ill prepared, bitterly fought and have left the losing side angry. The chief difference was in the ordering of the responses and the demographics of the Yes v Leave outcome.

    Once Brexit is over, I’d have thought it would be easier for Scotland to leave UK and rejoin EU. Juncker is keen to expand, the EU can hit back at Westminster and Scotland will automatically tick all the boxes for joining given all regulatory systems etc currently meet EU standards. Which currency appears to me to be the most difficult risk but a period sharing the pound with agreed conditions and ongoing review would seem to at least be the best temporary solution.

    If Scotland had left the UK before the UK had left the EU the process would have been a lot more complicated and faced with being potentially out of both unions for at least a period of time – the Scottish economy would have undergone much more significant risks if they had left the UK back in 2014 and were probably still in those separation discussions when Brexit hit (IMO of course).

    Obviously May (and CON as a party) do not want to see the UK split but not all Brexiters are so hypocritical – certainly not me.

    I expect SNP to gain further in the polls for many reasons, hopefully Sturgeon doing a good job being #1. SNP have a very good chance of becoming king-makers in next GE and at some point getting significant further devolution or another shot at IndyRef.

    Polls from a while back showed that quite a large minority of UK would be pleased for Scotland to become independent. I expect Brexit to work out very well for Scotland and at some point quite optimistic we can reset the UK devolved nations to something that works better for both the Scottish and the English-Welsh. IndyRef2 polls and the poor show for SNP in the GE show (IMO) the desire to wait and see from Scottish voters but as the uncertainty moves away SNP and IndyRef2 will probably rebuild. I discussed this with OLDNAT. If Sturgeon can play “hide and bide” and not move too early then I expect in a few years time IndyRef2 might be clearly above 50% and a second go would secure the desired result.

    NI is trickier as I’m BZ will remind me but in due course it makes far more sense for Ireland to become a full island republic – democratically of course.

  9. RACHEL

    Sure -its The Members’ Party now. With attached MPs.( Delegates , not Representatives)

    Corbyn & McDonnel really mean it when they talk of a Popular Movement..

    I am impressed by the the speed with which they have gained control of the Party.

  10. Germany – Merkel has acknowledged the strong show for AfD. It will take time but given the general rise of non-centre anti-EU parties in many other countries I’d expect the EU council put a review of free movement on the agenda quite soon.

    Remainers will get upset but this is good for Brexit negotiations. If free movement is tweaked then it can be moved off the negotiation table. If we do enter a 2y transition then that gives 3.5yrs to see where the EU are heading regarding free movement. Until then making a show of enforcing existing EU rules might calm our own far-right – some CON MPs already acknowledging the drop in immigration. HoC will have to pass an immigration bill at some point in 2018 which puts the timing out but with unemployment so low and immigration already dropping off I’d expect HMG can kick the can down the road for long enough.

  11. Colin

    I prefer a party controlled by members rather than one controlled by corporate interests

  12. CHARLES

    @”Recently, however, I have been reading Varoufakis;s book about the Greek experience of negotiating with Europe. The thing that comes across is their total rigidity, a point epitomised by the German finance minister who ended a conversation by remarking that if the EU changed course every time there was an election nothing would ever happen at all.”

    A very interesting post .

    In my opinion this tension between continuity & stability of the EU “Project” , and the will of voters expressed in Member State Elections cannot be resolved unless the former bends to the latter-or the latter are dismantled.

    We see the result of this tension in the German Elections tonight.

  13. PRINCES RACHEL

    I like the equation -MP=Corporate Interests.

    Corbyn has changed the Labour Party fundamentally. If he can win a GE he will have changed UK Politics.

    If he can’t , there will be major schism within Labour-MPs vs Members.

  14. Did anyone seriously think Corbyn wanted Brexit discussion? He has always made every effort to avoid it for very obvious reasons.

    I had always thought the “clarified” Brexit policy was a bluff – tactically clever, strategically foolish. Faux frustration has been shown to be a bluff. Corbyn has no interest in taking power before negotiations are complete – CON own the poisoned chalice and he ain’t drinking! Far-left LAB need to be out of ECJ jurisdiction and that might mean they can’t make a move until negotiations are fully wrapped up and their is no going back or even tweaking transition (ie after Mar’19)

    Being in opposition LAB can probably duck notice of the issue with many soft-Remainers and the press and public will not give it much focus but HMG will have made note and this strengthens our Brexit negotiations when at some point one of the factions in CON’s internal+DUP coalition of chaos decide to spit the dummy (anyones guess whether that is DUP, far-right CON, CON-Remain or SCON).

    The Hard Core Remainers though (43% of whom are in LAB VI)? They might take notice and don’t seem to be the forgiving type!

  15. German elections

    maybe the new Na**i party in Germany will be able to take up our vacated seats in the European Parliament when their euro elections take place. Could they have a say in our departure terms? You could not make it up.

  16. @Trevor – “Remainers will get upset but this is good for Brexit negotiations. If free movement is tweaked then it can be moved off the negotiation table. If we do enter a 2y transition then that gives 3.5yrs to see where the EU are heading regarding free movement.”

    Seeing your logic here, but I think the overall conclusions are misplaced.

    If free movement can be tweaked, then the biggest reason for leaving has left. Remainers win, albeit probably by a second referendum.

    Indeed, what you have said above is precisely what Blair was saying a couple of weeks ago as an active scenario for keeping the UK fully in the EU.

  17. @Andrew111 “Britain will end up in a transitional deal of full Single market membership (EEA/Norway, but plus the Customs Union). This will be renewed by both sides at least once before Britain exits that waiting room in the direction of EU membership. This transitional deal will come about at the 11th hour as negotiations fail to deliver anything else other than the cliff edge. I believe this is the reason for the slow pace of negotiations so far (on both sides). The real action will take place at the 11th hour as usual”

    I agree this appears to be the tactics for the Remainers. However I also think the Brexiteers are wising up to it which is why Johnson and co have started kicking up a fuss.

    The key in this is the Tory Membership who will elect a Brexiteer to the leadership, in my opinion, when push comes to shove. I think there are more than enough Tory Leaver Donators to fund that campaign and a following General Election if die hard Tory Remainers outvote Labour Leavers in a confidence motion over a clean Brexit.

    No idea how that potential election would go.

  18. @Redrich “re antiquity, I have been fascinated by Roman period since reading Gibbon at the age of 12 (I wasn’t a ‘normal child;-)). By the tine I was 14 I had read Caesar, Suetonius and Thucydides. When I was older and studying modern history I was always struck by the level of influence antiquity has had through the renaissance, englightenment and in to the modern day. “

    That’s a great book to get going with. During my childhood, I used to spend hours and hours pouring over Arthur Mee’s Children’s Encyclopedia which was over 7,000 pages in length, particularly the Roman and Greek mythology.

    It was the “Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” that really got me fascinated with history and philosophy around the same age as you. After then reading Homer’s lliad & Odsessy, I delved into was Thucydides, The History of the Peloponnesian War and my love of the Ancient World really took off. I agree, you can see the long hand of history everywhere in the West’s institutions.

    Over the last few years, I have been reading much more Eastern Philosophy. Vedanta and Buddhism come at the same issues often from different angles. It all comes down to the nature of consciousness and dissolving the fetters that bind us.

    @Alister1948, Finally this – never quite sure what it means though. “Not everyone is lucky enough to get to Corinth.”

    It was the Ancient World’s party port for seafarers and the like. That saying basically means if you have the chance to live it up, then go for it.

  19. “I like the equation -MP=Corporate Interests.”

    ——-

    Well there’s Party funding, revolving door, multinationals being able to press for,less tax etc.

    Just as people might point out union funding for Labour etc.

  20. @Carfrew

    Though of course, just going by legality can be problematic too. It might be legal to use careful scripts to sell stuff to the old and vulnerable that they don’t really need or want. Whether it’s a good thing is something else.

    As a green are you ok with it being legal to emit loads of CO2 putting climate at risk? It’s legal so that’s it then, nothing further need be said or done?

    I’m not okay with, no.

    We need stronger legislation to underpin higher standards, because what is set as a legal minimum rapidly becomes the normal.

    This should be doing this domestically, and also by use of international agreements and cooperation.

    Where legal requirements are inadequate, lobbying Parliament and MPs is the way to go.

  21. Re: Corbyn the “Not So Secret Brexiteer”

    Nice to see Corbyn/McDonnell trolling the London Labour Remainers. Giving them hope for an about face by talking about long-term transitions and then immediately pointing out large scale Benntie state aid is incompatible with membership of the SM. (i.e It’s anathema to our real project)

    And then refusing to debate Brexit at the conference! Nothing to see here, move along please.

    With Corbyn in charge of the Labour Party, it’s difficult not to see Brexit as almost assured.

  22. “If free movement can be tweaked, then the biggest reason for leaving has left.”

    ———

    In polling terms, you might say that given salience of immigration.

    But if that’s not the main concern of the Brexit media, they might start hyping Sovereignty issues, or even the ability to invest more and protect our industries a la Trump…

  23. S Thomas

    “You could not make it up.”

    You just did.

    There may be no “vacated seats” – if the number of seats is simply reduced, or allocated to the larger states to reduce inequality in representation, or put into a new pan-European constituency.

    http://www.politico.eu/article/meps-debate-who-inherits-british-seats/

  24. @Colin – CSU-Greens a “toxic couple”-very difficult basis for coalition.
    FDP do not like Macron’s EU Fiscal Governance/Treasury ideas.
    A new election in Germany?

    It’s certainly possible. It also seems unlikely that any coalition deal is going to be stitched up anytime soon. Which also means the Commission is likely to stay firmly in control of the Brexit negotiations for the time being.

    Anyhow I imagine many anti-EU-federalists are pleased to see Schultz be given a fat lip from the voters!

  25. @Catman

    “Where legal requirements are inadequate, lobbying Parliament and MPs is the way to go.”

    ——–

    But if people are kept superficially “happy” and unaware by the media and politicians alike, why would they lobby etc. That’s the point of things like toxic debt. The whole point is peeps were happy because the toxicity is under the radar.

    In the end, it’s interesting seeing people like Elon forcing the change by out-innovating the more dodgy “innovators” trying to maintain the status quo. Forcing down the price of battery tech., making solar more attractive etc.

  26. So who is more trouble – blue or red?

    Won’t change my vote!

  27. @ ALEC – I knew if I mentioned it Remain would get excited. Certainly any party that wishes to campaign for a 2nd ref (or in due course a return ref) is very welcome to. CON will be steering clear and fairly certain LAB will as well, especially seeing what is going on there just now. LD surge perhaps? With LAB and CON so far apart on domestic issues LD is going to stay a wasted vote in most seats but judging by the polls any LD gain will hurt LAB more than CON.

    You may be correct in the longer term but we’ll have left before the EU get around to even talking about it let alone doing anything about it. Your best hope lies with SNP. If LAB need them to form the next govt then they will push hard for a referendum – however, they’ll probably settle for IndyRef2 (or a big dollop of cash and further devolution) rather than help whole of UK with EURef2.

    Scotland’s route back into the EU is probably easier tackled as an independent nation than by attempting to be power-broker for the whole UK to return. SNP are disproportionally high in MP seats versus population – for Scotland to tip the whole UK vote would be difficult but outside of the UK they would easily win a EUReturn ref, they’d probably even be able to skip the EURef and just tag it onto an election manifesto or the IndyRef2 vote. Tagging it along with IndyRef2 would increase chances of winning IndyRef2 as well.

  28. Finally thoughts on Germany. Not much move in the Euro but already concern from Jewish sector. Expect Russia to make a big deal out of this as well. Those that followed Ukraine a few years back will know the PR value to Russia that the German result will offer.

    With that depressing thought I’m off to bed. ‘night all.

  29. If anyone is interested in the German election there’s a very good live results map in English) here:

    https://interaktiv.morgenpost.de/deutschlandwahlkarte2017/#en

    which is zoomable and gives the results in individual constituencies, details for minor parties and so on. Lots of fun things to click.

  30. S THOMAS

    German elections
    maybe the new Na**i party in Germany will be able to take up our vacated seats in the European Parliament when their euro elections take place. Could they have a say in our departure terms? You could not make it up.

    I hate to break this to you, but there were actually seven MEPs already elected for the AfD in 2014. Naturally in the usual way with right-wing EU parties (see UKIP continuously) they split furiously and are now in three different parties, none of them AfD.

  31. @Trevor Warne
    “Once Brexit is over, I’d have thought it would be easier for Scotland to leave UK and rejoin EU.”

    Bonus!

    @Alec
    “If free movement can be tweaked, then the biggest reason for leaving has left.”

    Not true for many. The desire to run our own country was the biggest reason I encountered when campaigning.

    ——————————————–

    I think that whatever deal with the EU is made, enough people will be dissatisfied with it for various (and sometimes diametrically opposite) reasons, that Labour are likely to win the next GE. If nothing else this will give another generation the opportunity to experience how well Labour runs the economy, and make their decision on who to vote for the next time accordingly.

    G’night all.

  32. Trevor Warne: Did anyone seriously think Corbyn wanted Brexit discussion? He has always made every effort to avoid it for very obvious reasons. ….

    The Hard Core Remainers though (43% of whom are in LAB VI)? They might take notice and don’t seem to be the forgiving type!
    Corbyn has not been forgiven in this house since he opened his mouth on 24 June 2016 and let the cat out of the bag for us. I am surprised it is not generally recognised.

    Sea Change: Re: Corbyn the “Not So Secret Brexiteer”

    Nice to see Corbyn/McDonnell trolling the London Labour Remainers. Giving them hope for an about face by talking about long-term transitions and then immediately pointing out large scale Benntie state aid is incompatible with membership of the SM. (i.e It’s anathema to our real project) ….

    With Corbyn in charge of the Labour Party, it’s difficult not to see Brexit as almost assured.

    I agree. But it is also quite dangerous. It is one thing to argue down any way out from brexit in the conference, it which case, people for whom this would be an important policy choice will know how to vote come a GE. But it is quite another to win a GE on the back of a maintained deceit.

    In the first case, I could ultimately possibly forgive Labour [but not Corbyn] if it came around to acknowledging the mistake of Brexit. But in the latter case, I would not.

  33. Love these right wing people, they spend years telling us that the ‘left wing’ politicians were just as corrupt and on the make as their politician but as soon as we say enough is enough and take back control the rightwingers leap to the defence of the very MPs that they said we shouldn’t vote for because of their corrupt hypocrisy.

  34. CHARLES
    “we will only get a deal if we capitulate”
    Bear in mind that the major part of the deal is already de facto agreed – that of our exiting the EU – because it is essentially unilateral and statutory in Article 50. The other part of the deal is the negotiated conditions for a new relationship with the EU – or none.
    In that respect the May/Leave mantra, “they stand to risk losing the benefits of trade with the UK”, if they do not agree a deal, has substance, and the EC’s responsibility is to broker the deal. Juncker’s injunction that no member should enter into negotiation directly with the UK really only has weight as a demand for orderly process in reaching a deal on terms and conditions and to detail drafted and proposed by the UK. That’s where the call for flexibility, competence and speed – pace Davis – needs to be directed.

  35. Colin,

    I think Rachel is correct, there is no Momentum Brexit debate avoidance anti-democratic action in play.

    Since the GE most of my local party has come together, the MP admitting to underestimating Corbyn and most Corbyn/Momentum types accepting it, although there are a few on either side who frustratingly won’t move on.

    This is the same Nationally and of course, as one would expect, the ones on either side who won’t move on are the ones getting media attention.

    In respect of Brexit, the only members I know who are frustrated are some very ardent remainers who are pushing for a commitment to SM/CU beyond a transitional period.

    Most members are content with Starmer/Corbyn position and at GC meeting Brexit barley gets a mention with the NHS, Zero- hours contracts, Pay Caps and others austerity related issues being raised.

    With members feeingl that our Brexit position and positioning has been fine why debate at conference? Much better to debate issues where we need some details adding like NHS de–privatisation etc.

    NB) I am also content with the policy which is clear to me but acknowledge that eventually (during the substantive negotiations in 2020 perhaps) Labour will have to be more specific about its’ final preferences.

  36. @Princess Rachel – it also amuses me that some of the people who tell us how bored they are of endless debates on Brexit are now attacking Labour for not having a debate on it.

    Perhaps labour have got this right? People really do care about the NHS, wages, housing standards etc?

  37. Jim Jam,

    “With members feeingl that our Brexit position and positioning has been fine why debate at conference? ”

    Although I’ve no reason to doubt what you’ve put I wonder if you’d agree that there is often another reason…..KISS!

    Keep it Simple Stupid.

    I’ve often found that when at Branch level members prefer punchy easy resolutions to long nuanced ones on complex subjects.

    I once or twice stood at conference and tried to get through resolutions on tax reform at SNP Conference and quite frankly trying to explain and argue of a technical issue in three minutes to an audience of largely laymen is a nightmare.

    Given the choice between, let’s debate either the relative merits of three different versions of PR all using counting systems named after obscure mathematicians with foreign names or “We All Think the Tories Are B#%^}%ds!”, I know which one will get the most backing without asking!

    Peter.

  38. @Colin

    Do you know the arrangements for the Conservative Party conference to have a vote on Brexit?

  39. Alec
    Glad to see the ad hominem rant from you has ceased at last.

    Not strangely reticent at all, I repeat I do not think that the Governments position has changed to any significant degree since the White paper and I do not accept your arguments at all. I think its wishful thinking on your part. Time and events will tell which of us which of us is more correct as I said. I am more interested in dealing with facts when it comes to accessing what happened during the Brexit negotiations. We will no doubt be able to do that some time in 2019.

    I noted earlier that you referred to an article in the FT. It’s a paper I only read for Company information and numbers. I trust it’s political and economic articles about as much as you do the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail.

    Colin

    Macron’s honeymoon was even shorter than May’s it appears.
    BZ
    Yes it is nice to agree for once. I suspect if we moved away from discussing Brexit and politics we would probably find much to agree about.

    John Pilgrim
    Amazing and very amusing post, Have you been taking something?

    Colin
    Yes, Old faithful ?

    Charles
    “ It is not a happy situation,” Glad you can see the reality and presumably understand why I do not think there will be a deal. Colin makes a good point to you in his post.

    Nick P
    “So who is more trouble – blue or red?
    Won’t change my vote!”

    Or mine.

    Pete B

    Your post to Alec. I think Junckers latest speech has sunk any chance of the UK voting to rejoin the EU once we have left in 2019.

  40. AW and anyone on the polling,

    Looked at the yougov graph of leave/remain posted above, and the BG one from the link. It would appear that while both have very small changes considering margin of error and all that, they also both show a slow rise in support for remain. That two companies are coming to much the same conclusion reinforces credibility. If one interpreted the findings as a 4% lead for leave transformed into a 4% lead for remain within one year, then extrapolating the trend suggest in three years a 32% lead for remain.

    Just saying, but the timescale for brexit keeps getting longer and people above have suggested several reasons why discontent is likely to rise. I doubt we will get to the situation of 2:1 support for remain in the time allowed, because the economic impact is unlikely to have been manifested by then. The whole point of extending the timescale is to defer the economic problems. Also, it is unclear how many leavers are hard core diehards and how many pragmatic economic opportunists. However, it seems likely the diehards will be in revolt against fudge by such a time, and will not support the deal on the table.

    It isnt clear to me the EU will be willing to agree a transitional period. I dont see what is in it for them, or indeed for the UK economically. Politically it allows the Uk government to hold off the effects of Brexit for another electoral cycle. Im not clear why the EU would want to do that. They would very likely want to have the matter settled.

    I think the point of the 2 year deadline is not to defer a member leaving, but to ensure they do so relatively speedily. To compel them to make clear what they want. The current government has a policy of delay. I assume the EU believes in itself, and believes the UK will be in real trouble if it does leave, and moreover believes the UK government thinks the same (because it certainly acts as if it does).

  41. @ HIRETON

    “@Colin
    Do you know the arrangements for the Conservative Party conference to have a vote on Brexit?
    September 25th, 2017 at 8:09 am”

    Votes at a Tory party conference ? I don’t think they have ever claimed to be a democratic party.

    The parties policies are decided between the PM and their SPADS. The PM then tells the cabinet what they have agreed to and holds an election. Tory MP’s and Lords are then expected to implement any policies they have decided to keep, as well any others they think are needed.

    Labours official policy on Brexit agreed at their conference in 2016, is that there should either be a referendum or general election giving voters a clear choice. Of course Jeremy Corbyn has decided that he is not following the parties official policy. Why change the habit of a lifetime ? Corbyn as a backbencher while Labour were in Government, voted against his party position, more than most Tory opposition backbenchers.

    The Lib Dems hold votes as well, but i am not sure the MP’s/Lords in Parliament stick to the policies agreed. Depends on whether they win enough seats to be able to trade them in for coalition.

    It is an interesting question. Does it really matter if political parties are not really democratic when it comes to policy making ?

  42. Peter,

    KISS is right the number of GC or branch meetings I have gone to and an issue is raised in a simplistic way is legion.

    Not saying I am super debater, but my normal approach is to let the discussion ramble on and then read out current LP policy which often surprises the members as leaderships, even a more ideological one like now, realise that issues are often not simple.

    Usually we end up agreeing our philosophical position but that more detail is needed from the centre.

    As an aside, I sometimes thinks members being involved in policy is misunderstood to lead to detailed resolution after resolution whereas my take is that it is about a broader picture. Identifying which issues we, the members, feel need addressing and directional how. IMO, detailed esoteric policy specifics should come from the centre.

  43. The Survation poll details are available now at their website in the Archive for anyone interested. There are a number of Brexit questions which show little change in the voters opinions.

  44. Alec,
    “Perhaps labour have got this right? People really do care about the NHS, wages, housing standards etc?”

    Its all about managing voters. Labour doesnt want to rock the boat regarding Brexit, it has established a ‘more remain than the others’ position and does not want to be pinned down.

    On the other hand, the more discontent it can stir up on other issues where it wants a clear division between it and the conservatives, the better.

    Labour wants to upset the tories, obviously. Dianne Abbott was unleashed upon the media again yesterday, and I heard her make the point that the consrvatives had now moved to copy labour’s brexit position. I would guess that labour will wish to trickle out an increasingly pro remain position bit by bit and watch the conservatives adopt it bit by bit. It gives the impression labour is making the decisions. (which if it is careful, it is).

  45. Danny: It isnt clear to me the EU will be willing to agree a transitional period. I dont see what is in it for them, or indeed for the UK economically. Politically it allows the Uk government to hold off the effects of Brexit for another electoral cycle. Im not clear why the EU would want to do that. They would very likely want to have the matter settled.

    What is not clear to me is whether the UK will agree a transitional deal. It is fairly clear to me that there is one take it or leave it deal offer on the table from the EU.

    It will be no skin off the EU’s nose for the UK to continue in the SM and the CU with no seat at the table, provided contributions continue as previously agreed for the budget period. This could carry on indefinitely subject to agreement of subsequent budgets. In terms of the current budget, if the transition continues to the end of the budget period, the UK would continue to receive CAP payments and EU project funding. It makes things easier, because there is nothing to negotiate over closing out the current budget.

    But what will not be entertained is any deviation such as no ECJ. I would mostly agree that the EU want the matter settled. Patience has worn thin with the current administration, such that any transition will only be continuation on current terms rather than a distinct interim deal

  46. The remarkable thing these polls in the past 15 months since the Brexit vote is how stable they have been and how resolute the Nation has been in sticking to its’ decision.

    Even this poll, which is one of he the best ones for Remain since the Referendum, is still only showing Remain support at the level it was the days before the Referendum.

    What are these Euro loonies proposing the UK do? Keep invoking and de-invoking Article 50 every time the Opinion Polls fluctuate slightly?

  47. jim jam,
    “Most members are content with Starmer/Corbyn position and at GC meeting Brexit barley gets a mention with the NHS, Zero- hours contracts, Pay Caps and others austerity related issues being raised.”

    Yes, but the problem, as ever, is voters. Many people like Corbyn’s policies aside from Brexit. But 2/3 of labour voters are remainers and at least an indeterminate proportion hard remainers. Thats the balance between winning and losing.

    It would be interesting to hear the labour leadership’s view on where they see the balance of advantage if they are forced to choose remain or soft leave (assuming they have dismissed hard leave). Either would offend some. The more other social issues can be emphasised the better because these policies generally seem to be vote winners, at least amongst those who might consider voting labour at all.

    Which last statement seems to be a turnabout of what had been the perceived wisdom.

  48. @ DANNY, etc – did you guys even read AW’s piece at the lead of this thread?

    “If you ask people what should happen now, a clear majority say Britain should leave the EU” (open up the info and only 27% want to stop and stay)

    In the info on LDEM you’ll see “the 48% doesn’t exist” section and some tabs to open up if you want to look at the detail.

    AW and CC have provided excellent write-ups to accompany the poll info. The photo bomb in the Farron photo is by itself worth opening up the links :)

  49. Danny: Looked at the yougov graph of leave/remain posted above, and the BG one from the link. It would appear that while both have very small changes considering margin of error and all that, they also both show a slow rise in support for remain. That two companies are coming to much the same conclusion reinforces credibility. If one interpreted the findings as a 4% lead for leave transformed into a 4% lead for remain within one year, then extrapolating the trend suggest in three years a 32% lead for remain.

    Arithmetic. I make it 28%, which would be 64% to 36%, which would be near enough 2:1

    There are 2 factors to consider, however.

    Firstly, how hard the various strata of Leave are – I would think that by the time Leave is whittled down to 36%, most of those left would be rather hard to convince.

    Secondly, I suspect that there may a reservoir of people whose current opinion is ‘Leave’ because they either accept the democratic case or just want to get on with eliminating uncertainty, who might well vote remain in a new referendum, because that would overwrite the previous democratic mandate and because if we were in a continuity transition, remain would offer stability.

    On the whole, I think that the second factor means that if the right leadership were active now, we might see that the easier strata of Leave may be sufficiently soft to give most of the swing over the next 9 months which you are suggesting over 3 years, but the first factor may mean that there is not much further to go, no matter how long you leave it.

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