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. Trevor W:
    “@ MONOCHROME OCTOBER – your correct about the hard core leavers. Good write-up with poll info here:
    https://yougov.co.uk/news/2017/08/01/britain-nation-brexit-extremists/

    61% of Leave think significant damage to the UK economy would be a price worth paying!”

    The most shocking thing for me was that apparently 50% of Leave voters over 65 were prepared to see a member of their family lose their job if only they could have Brexit! So much for helping the younger generation… Seems very Old Testament! Remain voters were a bit more sensible, on average

  2. @ ANDREW111 – if we’re taking the denominator up to 70million then Len McCluskey’s mandate drops to just 0.1%

  3. @Paul Croft “Whilst I am supportive of many of Labour’s policies I am not convinced at all by many of their leading figures. They also appear over-confident to me – which is never a good sign in my opinion.”

    Corbyn, Mcdonnell, Abbott and Thornbury are – by far – the least talented shadow great state office holders the UK has ever had IMO.

    I’m still shocked Labour did as well, seat wise, as Brown did in 2010.

  4. Trev, I don’t think the whole population were invited to vote for Len.

  5. Does anyone know if the linked polling info has been updated. Last update was 2014, before Corbyn. After McDonnell’s speech we might need a larger scale :)

    https://yougov.co.uk/news/2014/07/23/britains-changing-political-spectrum/

  6. @ MARKW – no but the whole population might get Len :)

  7. SEA CHANGE

    Yep-absolutely agree.

    She knows she has brought it on herself-now she faces the consequences in Parliament……………assuming she can cobble a majority together which sticks.

  8. “On Labour conference and Brexit, I think the current line is probably optimal in terms of VI and gives the flexibility to shift position either way in reaction to events. ”

    It’s also worth pointing out that the dichotomy that underpins the Labour right’s position on this, if the Observer letter and the motions not selected for debate are taken at face value, is in strict terms an entirely false one.

    The Labour front bench’s stated policy is something like: retain the benefits of the single market and the customs union with particular structures being secondary.

    The Observer letter however obsesses about “membership”. It doesn’t define this concept (and nor do the EU treaties) but comments off usually suggest that this means “like Norway/ Turkey”.

    The thing is, if you are going to argue that there is a fundamental difference between, on the one hand “membership” and on the other hand, “arrangements other than membership that retain the benefits of membership”, and seek to make a pedantic and narrow obsession about the divide between them as the Observer letter does, then the Norway and Turkey models are pedantically and narrowly speaking examples of the latter not to the former.

    Norway is not part of the EU’s Internal Market. It is part of the EEA, and is therefore (as is the EU reciprocally) subject to (most of) the rights and obligations that are defined in TEU for the EU’s Internal Market. But the territory of Norway is not, as such, part of the territory of the Internal Market of the EU as defined in TEU or by the Commission.

    Nor is it, by pedantic and narrow definition, true to say that Turkey is in “the” EU Customs Union. Rather, Turkey is in a customs union with the EU.

    So Turkey has an arrangement that provides for (most of) the rights and obligations that are defined for the EU’s Custom’s Union. But membership of the EU Customs Union, under TEU, is reserved for the Member States.

    So much is just narrow pedantry, I’d normally accept. The Norway and Turkey models are tantamount to membership and that it’s usually harmless shorthand to call them such.

    But it’s legitimate to take the pedantic line when others seek to be similarly pedantic and fail to be so accurately.

    The Norway and Turkey models are just arrangements other than membership that have the benefits of membership of the Internal Market/ Customs Union. In terms of closeness of relationship, they represent the closest example of each and may be a handy “off the peg” one to champion of you’re that way inclined. But the qualitative difference that the writers of the Observer letter see is a myth.

  9. Found update, see here:
    https://yougov.co.uk/news/2016/08/19/which-leaders-have-most-successfully-shifted-publi/

    a new one after conf season would be good to see

  10. Just watched McDonnell.

    Boy does he scare me!

    Cold, determined, steeped in hatred, armed & ready with real “Socialism”.

    They absolutely loved it-Nationalise water/energy, Royal Mail, /Rail; Scrap all public sector pay caps ; reinstate National Bargaining ; repeal TU legislation, Scrap PPI & “bring existing contracts in house ?) , Stop London Property speculation; Tax the rich & “corporations” ; Invest in “good jobs”; raise the Living wage; Stop all NHS private sector provision; Cap Credit Card Debt; Planned Economy with the Governor of BoE (!); HR2 to Scotland; “Crossrail” for THe North; Electrify from London to Penzance; Reduce the Deficit………………..I probably missed some stuff.

    Amazing-they will vote for it in their droves.

  11. The Guardian very critical of McDonnell – upset the Remain press at your peril!
    Sterortypical Guardian reader is maybe starting to get it :)

  12. SEA CHANGE

    Re Merkel, at least Germany is a functioning democracy with a fair voting system. Her having to take the Greens into her coalition should at least be good news for the planet.

    As you say, the SPD are taking a very honourable position as lead opposition to prevent AfD having it.

    What does surprise me is that AfD support was highest in the former GDR, which would have been a very poor state indeed had not the FRG very generously agreed to an instant re-unification. Biting the hand which feeds you comes to mind.

  13. @ BZ – the issue in former GDR can be spread to most of the former Warsaw Pact.

    Of course UK has been a huge net payer, those guys are at least getting paid to be angry with the EU :)

  14. @Alec
    I have never understood why Brits are so hostile to cyclists. Even Janet Street Porter was banging on about it in the ‘I’ on Saturday.

    If I was PM I’d make every motorist get on a bike and cycle around a very busy roundabout a few times. Then they might appreciate how dangerous it is for cyclists and see them as fellow human beings.

  15. Colin,

    ” Amazing-they will vote for it in their droves.”

    I think you may be right.

  16. Colin
    I do think you’re going a bit over board about McDonnell. He’s not Stalin reincarnated and Len isn’t Lenin.

    They’re old geezers soon to be put out to grass.
    I really don’t think we’re heading for our own cultural revolution.

    Calm down and

    Have a nice cup of tea.

  17. @Colin

    Previously you’ve had a lot of time for Jim Jam’s thoughtful posts as a Labour insider.
    I’d read them – I think you’ll be reassured.

  18. @Colin

    Previously you’ve had a lot of time for Jim Jam’s thoughtful posts as a Labour insider.
    I’d read them – I think you’ll be reassured.

  19. Also you don’t have to be Marx or Stalin to question if PFI has been a good deal for tax payers.

  20. COLIN

    Just watched McDonnell.
    Boy does he scare me!

    That’s one of the consequences of the plurality voting system as modified by the 1872 Ballot Act.

    A fair voting system [preferably multi-member STV as used in NI & Scotland] would rapidly deny “majorities” to individual parties and at least limit the power of extremists, as it did yesterday in Germany.

    Even a return to the pre-1872 plurality system using an on-line electronic version of the old public counting process would inexpensively provide tactical voters with the details needed to tip the balance in every constituency, without identification of the name of the electors.

    Imperfect, certainly, but at least it would give the electorate some chance of influencing the outcome of elections.

  21. I support illegal strikes just as I would have supported illegal gay sex in the 50s. The law is wrong and immoral

  22. Good afternoon all from a warm and grey Central London.

    BARBAZENZERO
    SEA CHANGE
    Re Merkel, at least Germany is a functioning democracy with a fair voting system. Her having to take the Greens into her coalition should at least be good news for the planet.
    —————–

    When you look at the voting system in Germany then it makes our Westminster system look antiquated and non democratic.

    Why Westminster is called the mother of all parliaments is beyond me? Twice we’ve had a party take absolute power despite having less than 39% of the popular vote.

    Germany is a far bigger global economic powerhouse than us and they get along fine with coalition governments under a PR system but back here way say it would bring uncertainty.

    The problem with Labour and the Tories is that they are far too power hungry to bring in any Democratic reforms to Westminster.

  23. @colin

    I think It’s generally not a good.idea to get over excited about party conference speeches from any party.

    On the specific policy proposals you have listed I seem to recall some – such as renationalising the railways – enjoy quite a degree of support in polling. Others such as Crossrail for the north were, again IIRC, quite close to what was Tory policy. And the Tories have flirted with market intervention with energy policy for example.

    Perhaps it’s the totality of them all which you find frightening or how they could be paid for?

  24. @rogermexico

    Re the fissiparous nature of the Afd in Germany, its leader has just announced at its post-election press conference that she will take up her seat in the Bundestag as an independent not as a representative of the Afd. Presumably this means she is no longer leader of the Afd?

  25. TREVOR WARNE @ BZ

    Of course UK has been a huge net payer, those guys are at least getting paid to be angry with the EU

    You don’t mention that a previous HMG had a substantial part in persuading our EU partners of the wisdom of that choice, as well as deciding not to apply the pre-negotiated transitional free movement on those states*. The rest of the EU made no demands on HMG to do so.

    We can hardly blame the member states who used the transitional arrangements wisely and nor can we blame them for impinging on HMG’s sovereignty since the choice was ours.

    * Presumably because they were aware of the hopeless mess AKA The Home Office, which persists to this day. Serendipity ensured that Davis was one of the main campaigners who fought against ID cards but now wants to introduce them for foreigners.

  26. PRINCESS RACHEL – An interesting Brexit poll in the YouGov live section:

    “Do you believe Britain’s future success does or does not fundamentally rest on Brexit being a success?”

    For the two main parties

    TOTAL LAB CON
    Does 47, 49, 51
    Does not 28, 24, 34
    Don’t know 25, 27, 15

    The lack of partisan split (also very little demographic split) surprised me.

    It was a question from the 21Sep, available here:
    https://yougov.co.uk/opi/surveys/results#/

    They ask about Labour’s delegates and Brexit today, so far 53% versus 33% think Brexit should have been a voting item at conference but we’ll have to wait until the end of the day to see the crossbreaks.

  27. VALERIE
    @Alec
    I have never understood why Brits are so hostile to cyclists. Even Janet Street Porter was banging on about it in the ‘I’ on Saturday.
    If I was PM I’d make every motorist get on a bike and cycle around a very busy roundabout a few times. Then they might appreciate how dangerous it is for cyclists and see them as fellow human beings.
    ———–

    We are a very anti cycling country and probably in part explains the obesity problem.

    I drive and also cycle so I see it from both sides. The problem is our outdated law concerning motorists. If the law was changed so that if you hit a cyclist then you’re automatically presumed guilty until proved otherwise then it would bring down the amount of road deaths and accidents involving cyclists.

    Motorists in this country are far too protected by the law and we’ve had cases where drivers have been charged with dangerous driving after killing cyclists yet received community service.

    What I don’t understand is why so many motorists get upset at having to wait a few extra seconds to overtake a cyclist safely yet don’t seem to bother too much about having to sit in heavy traffic on motorways??

    The only problem I personally have with cyclists when I’m behind the wheel of my car driving through Winchester is far too many of them cycle within the door zone and despite taking up less of the road in doing so, it actually makes it more problematic to overtake them because they are far more likely to suddenly swerve out in the event of a door opening so my message is stay central and that way if the other side of the road is clear then a driver will more likely pass you safely and the cyclist is less likely to make a sudden swerve in the event of being hit by an opening door.

  28. “In the past 30 years, and particularly since the ‘Big Bang’ deregulation of the Financial Services Act (1986), consumers of financial services firms have been victims of three major waves of offences in the United Kingdom. These have involved many of the same (well-known) financial services companies. First, personal pension frauds emerged in the 1980s, in which as many as 2.4 million victims lost their pensions after replacing their occupational schemes with high-risk private schemes;1second, the endowment mortgage frauds of the 1990s – mis-selling a particularly risky mortgage product to high-risk customers -created as many as 5 million victims;2 and third, the ‘mis-selling’ of payment protection insurance has been estimated as affecting almost 5 million people,3
    with the volume of claims still increasing in 2013.”

    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/290393618_How_Corrupt_is_Britain

  29. @ BZ – do you mean the previous HMG that pushed for EU expansion being LAB under Blair? I think I’ve made my thoughts on that matter very well known. My EEC/EU views over time (pre-1990 I was too young to really care so basing that on historical info)

    1963 – EEC probably needed to join but French didn’t want us in (a lesson for the future perhaps?), OK
    1973 – let in to EEC, OK
    1985 – Thatcher rebate probably meant still OK
    1992 – ERM crisis – in hindsight this was the time to quit but since it was still EEC then just about OK
    1993 – Maastricht treaty, EU is born – huge red flag in hindsight, LAB had the correct policy at the time. Hindsight BAD but I missed the sign.
    end of c21 – globalisation, end of communism, global push for free trade, technology marked the start of c21 and we are tied to c19/20 nostalgia
    2002 – Euro starts, inextricably linked to the EU and seeing Italy and Greece let in confirmed my fears. V.BAD
    2004 – 10 new countries added, V.V.BAD
    2008 – financial crisis. bigger issues right now, back to just BAD
    2010 – Really need to get out asap. V.V.BAD

    I can’t be sure of the future but IMHO the seeds of all EU’s current and future problems were sown back in 1992 with the Maastricht treaty and everything I’ve seen since, especially who got into the Euro and the 2004 expansion has confirmed my worst fears and supported my view that it is not a project we should be part of.

  30. “This article has been chiefly concerned with CEO pay for the executives of listed companies, simply because the data are most readily available. But pay for corporate leaders sets a benchmark for bankers, city lawyers and top accountants too. Even senior managers in the civil service, universities and the BBC justify generous pay packages on the basis of comparisons with the city or major corporations. The net result is that a tiny proportion of the population have been able to capture an unearned, unnecessary and disproportionate slice of the United Kingdom’s prosperity. Meanwhile living standards for ordinary people stagnate. Research from Eurostat shows that 30 of the United Kingdom’s 37 regions are poorer than the EU average, because so much of the United Kingdom’s total wealth is concentrated in London and the Home Counties.17
    Although this chapter has not uncovered evidence of explicitly corrupt practices such as bribery, coercion, nepotism and theft of company or state revenues, this is simply because inadequately regulated economic power achieves precisely the same ends. Yet can this be described as anything other than economic corruption?

    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/290393618_How_Corrupt_is_Britain

  31. ALLAN CHRISTIE @ BZ & SEA CHANGE

    The problem with Labour and the Tories is that they are far too power hungry to bring in any Democratic reforms to Westminster.

    Absolutely. The only reason they got STV in Ireland was thanks to the last Liberal HMG. Whilst Lab’s imposition of the mixed system for Holyrood & Cardiff Bay was a flawed mechanism for retaining power indefinitely.

    What neither Con nor Lab supporters everywhere seem to acknowledge is that by maintaining the “Buggins’ turn” of the plurality system the leadership of the 2 big parties are complicit by supporting the right to power of the other. So when COLIN re McDonnell writes “Boy does he scare me!” he should be just as unhappy that May [or whoever succeeds her] will have significant responsibility for causing McDonnell to be in office.

  32. Trevor

    People can have a view on what labour should discuss and vote on at conference but it’s a waste of time because the people who get to decide that are the delegates themselves. If people want a say they should join the labour party and take part in the process of selecting delegates.

    Indeed I would urge all the posters here that have expressed an opinion on how labour should organize itself to join today, looking forward to welcoming you, Colin and others to the party. But don’t expect me to call you comrades, I don’t do that leftie hippy stuff

  33. @Sam
    That report, while having somewhat of point, misses the main issue giving rise to increasing inequality.

    Wealth is produced by the application of resources (intellectual and physical), labour and capital to generate production.

    The Chicago school of economic thought, which is now absolutely dominant in the US and highly influential in the UK, asserts that maximum freedom of capital, above and unhindered by freedom of labour or resources, will generate the maximum wealth.

    As a result successive governments have been following policies which are either neutral or positively encouraging of a shift of the value of production away from labour and resources and towards capital.

    Inequality arises mainly because too great a proportion of value added within the economy is being passed to investors at the expense of suppliers and workers.

    The proportion of UK GDP going to the workforce is the lowest in a hundred years, or so I read recently….
    If I get a minute I’ll try to find a link.

  34. VALERIE

    @”Previously you’ve had a lot of time for Jim Jam’s thoughtful posts ”

    Still do :-)

    Doesn’t stop me being scared of McDonnell though.

    But-I realise that’s Democracy !

  35. @ Colin

    Re McDonnell speech, yes it does raise questions on what the national debt and interest payable would be, with all of these extra amounts.

    But, if you don’t invest in the economy properly, then you will end with other problems. I think even many Tories would borrow enough money to build sufficient numbers of social housing. If you fail to do this, then you will end up with essential workers not being able to live anywhere near where their places of work are.

    I would want to see a full set of accounting estimates looking at the different options. Cancelling PFI and bringing it back on Government accounts sounds attractive, but i should imagine that this would be difficult contract wise. The PFI contracting companies would no doubt negotiate on the basis of not loosing anything from their contractural entitlements. Unless they want to do a deal to raise cash for business reasons.

  36. HIRETON

    @”Perhaps it’s the totality of them all which you find frightening or how they could be paid for?”

    Ummm-yes probably-and yes certainly.

    But only because I have seen it all before & didn’t like the outcome then.

    But as John Prescott said on DP today-Tony & Me are the past-these young people are the future.

    ……..Mind you he did call Brexit “Britex “-so maybe he got that the wrong way round too? :-).

    Anyway-we will see-its not going to be next week is it?

    ……………….IS IT ?

  37. AC

    When I lived in the UK the main danger to us pedestrians was the bike community who considered it there right to ride on the pavement any attempt to point out that the tax payer had thoughtfully provided a black tarmac thing called a road was usually met with a stream of abuse.
    Re your argument that cyclist should always be presumed above the trifling matter of innocent till proved guilty should anyone collide into them I wonder if such a rule of guilty until proved innocent could apply to cyclists when they collide into pedestrians.
    Personally I think a lot of the animosity towards cyclist would disappear if they paid a form of accident insurance , contributed towards the upkeep of cycle lanes and the bike carried a means of identification .

  38. R HUCKLE

    A shadow minister was on BBC tv News-being asked about PFI “in house”.

    She said they don’t know how they can do it yet-that needs sorting out.

    Most Nationalisation , she said will involve “regulatory change”-so it will be “cost neutral”.

    So now we know :-)

  39. @ PRINCESS RACHEL – you’re probably aware of the rumours that went around back in the leadership challenge about CON supporters spending 3quid each to get Corbyn back in. I didn’t do it and I suspect those that did were only a tiny minority that are not laughing now!!

    I’m a paid up member of the LDEMs though – better than the beano :)

    I’m fully expecting some jolly banter when it’s CON’s turn at the wicket – I think it is a fairly safe bet Maybot, BoJo, etc will provide some amusement for LAB VI and heads in hands moments for CON VI.

    CON making it through without a leadership challenge and also getting Hammond to let the moths out of the public purse then maybe we can give LAB a good fight at the next GE – which I’m increasingly confident will be after Mar’19

    If the GE is hung then LAB will get SNP and we can look forward to lots more polling and discussion of neverendums.

  40. THE OTHER HOWARD

    Logic? Not your stong point. The rest is irrelevant, and you forgot to say IMO, as you are so keen to point out to others; we may not all agree with your self assessment, but how nice that your wife does…

    Look harder next time.

  41. R HUCKLE

    I agree by the way , that PFI is a scandal.

    I’m sure Labour can think of a simple way of just telling the investors involved that their contracts are at an end-here’s a few quid to see you right.

    According to a Lab spokesperson on R4 the other day , compensation to Water Company shareholders ** will not be market value because they have already received too much dividend & haven’t invested in the companies.

    If that is true of WAter Companies-it is true of PFI contracts with knobs on !

  42. Nationalisation, we owned them all collectively after generations of investment. Selling our utilities, often to state sponsored owners in other Countries, was a con trick.

    Just take them back.

    I appreciate this is simplistic, but selling our stuff was wrong.

  43. forgot the footnote:-

    ** = Pension Schemes=Pension Scheme Members.

  44. Allan Christie

    On cyclists and car doors.

    Perhaps introducing the Dutch rule would help (one has to open the door with the far hand – that is, in the UK with the left one, which forces the motorist to look back).

  45. As there seems to be an outbreak of unbridled partisanship re: John McDonnell and Labour today can I say this:
    I am not scared at all, if Labour are elected to Government I will sing and dance for joy particularly because these are the types of domestic policy I have wanted for forty years.

    But back to the polls, as they currently stand Labour will not be in Government without support from other parties, that’s even if an election is called (which appears unlikely). So Colin remember the proverb: nothing is ever as good or as bad as first appears.

  46. What about my unthoughtful posts?

    Serious point is that even within the Campaign group there are differences.

    So Corbyn is less of an economic left-wing hard-liner being more akin to a Scandy Sociliaist. He is though very LOC on social issues, international matters and the like.

    McDonnell is the Economic uber-lefty and imo sees the back to Thatcher manifesto as a stepping stone in a way Corbyn doesn’t.

    I am more relaxed about the new younger momentum joiners to Labour than some old members; as, whilst I reckon they have bought in to the not-fair, nasty Tories, young people ignored narrative I believe few are old fashioned statists in the way I think McDonnell is.

    I think he (McDonnell) knows this is and is trying to entrench a philosophical back-drop that imo will be rejected in the coming years by the new members. I feel Corbyn is not as didactic as McDonnell and is more bothered about outcomes that process whilst not being a trimmer in the Brown/Millband mode.

    The real issue in the Labour Party is the next leader which will probably be decided within Momentum if I am honest.

  47. A few more leaks on the ICM poll and first poll info since Florence speech.

    ICM also asked people if they supported the policy Theresa May announced on Friday of continuing to pay into the EU budget for two years as part of a transition deal giving access to the single market. The results were:

    Support: 41%

    Oppose: 31%

    Don’t know: 28%

    Remain voters were strongly in favour of May’s policy (58% for, 16% against). But a plurality of leave voters were opposed (48% against, 30% for).

    No link to the actual poll yet, when it comes it will be on
    https://www.icmunlimited.com/polls/

  48. COLIN

    “Just watched McDonnell.

    Boy does he scare me!”

    I have no idea of your personal circumstances, but if the aspiration to common decency and fairness scares you, so be it.

    As far as I’m concerned, everything you describe McDonnell as espousing is exactly what this country needs, and can only be achieved once we leave the EU and British employers are forced to train their own staff by offering proper apprenticeships rather than internships (or importing staff qualified abroad at bargain rates), and pay a fair living wage for a fair day’s work

    I’ve ignored your opinion of McDonnell as a person, as it is clearly informed by your own politics and prejudices and is inappropriate and irrelevant.

  49. TREVOR WARNE @ BZ

    Obviously it was the Blair HMG which pushed for early entry of the former Warsaw Pact states. I have no recollection of Con views on the topic. Howard was the leader then; perhaps others here recall Con views at the time.

    Your timeline misses the first step towards creation of the EU at the 1951 Treaty of Paris which founded the ECSC [European Coal and Steel Community] by France, West Germany, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. The UK were invited to participate, but the 2nd Attlee government refused, presumably still motivated to retain the remnants of empire.

    The next obvious chance was the 1957 Treaty of Rome that created the EEC, a year before de Gaulle had a chance to say “non”. In part, that may have been due to it happening in March, soon after Eden resigned and possibly before SuperMac had properly settled in. Being post-Suez [I still have my late father’s petrol rationing coupons from the time] it should have been obvious that the sun had set on the empire and another missed opportunity for the UK to become founder members of the EU.

    The rest of your list looks about right but of course I disagree with your comments on each of them except for de Gaulle’s NON to SuperMac in 1963.

  50. ICM/Guardian:

    CON 40 (-2)
    LAB 42 (=)
    LD 8 (+1)
    UKIP 4 (=)
    GRN 2 (-1)

    22-24th Sep
    N=1,968

    Sorry, thought it was an old poll. Someone might have posted it already so apologies if a repeat.

    @ BZ – thanks for filling WW2 to 1963. I’m pretty sure you know my views on empires, either UK or others.

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