Another week, another Brexit poll for partisan twitter to get overexcited about. In this case the fuss was caused by a YouGov poll that appeared to show people backing Brexit by 48% to 39%. This survey was actually the GB answers to question asked to several EU countries – the intention of it wasn’t to measure UK support for Brexit, but to see whether or not the public elsewhere in Europe still wanted Britain to stay, or whether we’ve got to point that they’d really just like us to hurry up and go away (for the record, most of the German, Danish, Swedish and Finnish public would still like Britain to stay. The French are evenly divided). There was also a question earlier in the survey about Martin Schulz’s vision of a federal Europe which may or may not have influenced answers – however, this post isn’t about the specific question, but about all the Brexit surveys we tend to see.

As ever, when a poll comes out that appears to show public support for Brexit it is excitely retweeted and shared by lots of pro-Brexit voices. When a poll comes out that appears to show public opposition to Brexit it is excited retweeted and shared by lots of anti-Brexit voices. Both of these create a deeply misleading picture. To start with, there are three different questions about current attitudes to Brexit that people often treat as being measures of public support for Brexit which don’t always show the same answers…

1) Questions asking how people would vote in a Brexit referendum tomorrow
2) Questions asking whether people think Brexit was the right or wrong decision
3) Questions asking whether people think we should now go ahead with Brexit or not

Starting with the first type of question, BMG and Survation both ask EU referendum voting intention regularly, and ICM, Opinium and YouGov have asked it on occassion. BMG’s most recent poll showed a ten point lead for Remain and got a lot of publicity, but this was something of an outlier. Typically these polls have shown a small lead for Remain of between one and four points.

Any question asking about voting intention in a referendum or election is really two questions – it’s working out who would vote, and then how they would vote. When polls ask how the public would vote in an EU referendum tomorrow they tend to find not much net movement among remain and leave voters, the Remain leads are down to those who didn’t vote in 2016. This raises all sorts of questions about whether those past non-voters would actually vote and whether they are actually representative of 2016 non-voters, or are too politically engaged and likely to vote.

There’s also a question of how useful a referendum voting intention question is when there isn’t actually a second referendum due. The most likely route to a second referendum is a referendum on the terms of the deal…which obviously aren’t known yet. In my experience, most people who contact polling companies asking whether we’ve asked a Brexit referendum question aren’t primarily interested in how people would vote in a second referendum, but really want to see if the public have changed their mind about how they voted in the first one…

YouGov regularly ask a direct “Bregret question” to get at that question, asking whether people think voting for Brexit was the right or wrong decision. The results here are quite similar to referendum questions, but because it is a question about public attitudes as a whole rather than voting intentions concerns about likelihood to vote don’t arise. Looking at the regular YouGov tracker, there has again been a slow movement towards Regret, meaning that for the last three or four months the poll has consistently shown slightly more people thinking Brexit was the wrong decision than the right decision.

The final group of questions is “what do we do now” questions. No company asks a regular tracker along these lines, but there are several questions asked on this sort of basis. By stating with “at this point” the question in the YouGov poll this week tilts toward this sort of question, but there are other more explicit examples asking what people think should happen next – for example, YouGov have a semi-regular tracker that asks how the government should proceed with Brexit, which this month found 52% thought the government should go ahead with Brexit, 16% that they should call a second referendum, 15% that they should stop Brexit and remain in the EU. The reason for the difference in these questions is that a substantial minority of people who voted Remain in 2016 consistently say that the government should go ahead and implement Brexit (presumably because they see them as having a democratic duty to implement the referendum result).

It is true to say that more of the public now tend to think Brexit was the wrong decision than the right decision, and say they would vote against it in a referendum. It is also true to say that most of the public think that Brexit should go ahead. Neither measure is intrinsically better or worse, right or wrong… they are just asking slightly different things. If you want to understand public attitudes towards Brexit, you need to look at both, rather than cherry pick the one that tells you what you want to hear.


1,317 Responses to “On measuring support for Brexit”

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  1. TREVOR

    If we do brexit and Corbyn is perceived to have done little to challenge this then I think Labour will suffer in the polls. I would certainly expect a backlash from many youth voters who backed him so enthusiastically.

  2. Mike – last night was about the current SM/CU which Labour cant support being members of without ignoring the result of the referendum.

    It may be Labours’ version of cake and eat but the hope is that Merkel and Macron will steer the EU towards adjusting free movement in some way.

  3. Hireton

    Worth noting the composition of the Holyrood committee which unanimously endorsed the position of the Scottish and Welsh governments with regard to Clause 11 of the EU Withdrawal Bill

    5 SNP : 3 SCon : 2 SLab : 1 SGP

  4. A better effort today with lots of fresh new faces in the lower ranks.

    Perhaps there’s a new Leader in there somewhere?

    It certainly makes a difference when party spokesperson’s address question put to them honestly , and sound confident & positive-as Cleverly did today on DP.

  5. JIM JAM

    So Corbyn has changed his position from a few months ago. He needs to appreciate that the vast majority of Labour voters do not want Brexit. This could be very damaging.

  6. DAVWEL

    @”But there is leeway in vegetation management, and recovery is possible. And hopefully now enough people are around with expertise and knowledge,”

    A few years ago Woodland Trust acquired what was, at the time, their biggest & most expensive purchase -next to the village where I live.

    This 650 acre wood was bought from a defunct Water Board who had done no management work for years.

    Counter-intuitively ( for many locals !) WT set about felling trees-not planting them.

    Birch & Bracken has been cleared to expose areas of long lost rare East Sussex Heathland which is now being grazed by Koniks.

    Serried ranks of Pine Plantation & bramble scrub have been cleared to help areas of true Ancient Woodland .

    What is emerging is a wonderful mosaic of ancient and secondary woodland, both broadleaved and conifer; heathland; coppice; and small ponds, springs and streams.
    Green Hellebore , Wild Service Tree. Great crested Newt, Brook Lamprey, Nightingale, Silver Washed Fritillary , and the most eastern location of breeding Golden-ringed Dragonfly are among the species present.

    They are doing a fantastic job.

  7. @ COLIN – is Suella Fernandes supposed to be the promised Brexit implementation person? A true Breliever for sure but she lacks the seniority and clout to deal with Hammond in seeing the 3bn implementation fund is spent timely and appropriately IMHO. Promoting Baker up to full cabinet post was probably too hopeful but today’s modest better efforts will IMHO either be ignored or soon forgotten by the masses. PR own goal again from May with the Greening debacle will be the issue folks remember not to mention the unnecessary addition of a Remain rebel to the back benches given the v.slim majority relying on DUP.

    @ MIKE PEARCE – I hope you are right. The youth are not fools, they have heard of a country called Norway and know the deal that Norway has with the EU even if Corbyn pretends otherwise. Whether or not they would vote LDEM given the LDEM student loan baggage is the main issue I think – hence a new party would seem to make more sense IMHO.

  8. TREVOR WARNE

    On Fernandes-I don’t know.

    Of course today’s efforts will not register with voters because:-
    * No one knows any of these people
    * The Press won’t mention them because its not “news”
    * Most voters couldn’t care less about politics until a GE.

    No the pay-back ( if there is one) will be in more competent delivery, more general appeal in policy, more confident & credible spokespersons on tv.

    With the Brexit Divide being such a polarising factor in politics at present I think there is mileage & VI in perceived competence.

    ………..with the caveat that if the PM is the odd one out in the “competence perception” stakes-that bu**ers everything up.

  9. Mike – I am not sure the position has been changed I would like to see both quotes in full.

    It is possible that the distinction between A Single Market and THE Single Market is being confused; or stating view that the country is better in the SM is seen as being contrary to saying we should leave which isn’t due to the referendum.

    David Liddington has been similarly consistent I read today saying he still thinks we are better off in the EU but HMG have to deliver on the referendum result. Corbyn can say the same re the SM.

  10. Corbyn and Brexit

    I am afraid i must come to the defence of jezza. There is a truth out there that some will just not grasp. TM has grasped it and Jezza has grasped it but unreality burns bright in some remainers hearts.

    The truth is that one cannot stay in the SM and probably CU without accepting free movement of citizens. You can squirm and wriggle doing the starmer dance but both TM and jezza know this and so does the EU.Jezza will not say to the electorate that he is in favour of unrestricted immigration into the UK.he realizes that to do so would court political disaster. Every overcrowding problem,every school place problem, every NHS probem would be gleefully be thrown in his face by the Tories and UKIP. The tories would stand there and say dont blame us.

    The only way to stop Brexit now is for Europe to change or appear to change so fundamentally that the die-hards will claim that the EU we left no longer exists and there ought to be a new referendum or vote on the new sparkling clean EU which ,to adopt the argument, we have never voted to leave. step forward Macron and Merkel.

  11. Colin:

    Thanks for telling us this news, it`s very encouraging.

    I would imagine that some of those WT experts and hard workers live in those adjacent properties that Danny blames for the end of low-intensity grazing.

    So out of bad, some good has come.

  12. DAVWEL

    WT have an area/regional Warden who oversees the Management Plan ( which is accessible online -with maps).
    A local Ecologist connected to the County Wildlife Trust was involved in drafting the Management Plan & acts as Consultant to WT

    The Warden just hires contractors.& organises volunteer work parties.

    All a standard approach for any modern Conservation Body I think.

    I met a couple of contracted shooters in there one day with a male wild boar they had just culled. The size of it & its tusks was absolutely astounding.

  13. I don’t see why the resignation/sacking of Greening is such a surprise she was lack lustre in her role in education who was anti Grammer schools and her departure was well trailered before she was sacked.
    May did the honourable thing and offered her another ministerial post which she turned down.
    As for Hunt he was offered the second in command post but chose to stay with the NHS other than sack him May had little choice but to agree.
    Of course this must have delighted the Labour Party as before the reshuffle they were very vocal that Hunt should remain in post.
    Personally I think May did the best that a PM with a minority government in the middle of very difficult and polarised brexit negotiations could do, her promotion of new faces in the Junior posts has been well received .
    The one thing for sure and I speak as a Tory party member of over 40yrs is none of those big beasts flexing there muscles against May now will be in the running for the 22 GE as leader.

  14. @Colin, i agree re: the general public. One measure i have come to trust is my facebookometer and its drawing a big fat zero for Greening/today’s announcements despite knowing several teachers as well as several politically aware people in Putney constituency and also other people who generally post about politics. Jeremy Hunt got one mention from someone who posts multiple items every day, Trump got a mention too but thats it. Looks like people might have given up politics for the new year :D

  15. @Colin – maybe we should get the Woodland Trust to draw up a management plan for UKPR?

    There are reputed to be some huge wild bores on here at times.

  16. jim Jam,
    re labour policy. peronally I am still going on the manifesto, which said they have certain plasn but will put the economy first. In other words, whatever they say now will change in light of events. Thats the position. In contrast the tories are obliged to push events, without knowing what is going to happen as a result.

    May’s position reminds me of the Queen in Alice,
    “Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying,” she said: “one can’t believe impossible things.”
    “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

  17. Trevor Warne,
    ““Soft” Brexit is a “cake+eat it” fallacy, colony status seems more appropriate to vassal state IMHO as we’d be paying for the pleasure (de facto taxation without representation)”

    I dont really understand how you reckon that one. Soft brexit is a ‘half a cake is better than none’ option.

    I think there are basically only two possible outcomes to Brexit. We abandon it entirely (which is what parliament wants), or we go soft Brexit. I think the continued existence of the tory government means it has reconciled its internal differences and concluded this is the only possible outcome. A hard Brexit is unrealistic and despite trying hard, they cannot find a way to make it work. Thus May was sent to agree the terms for continued relations, which basically say we shall have a very soft Brexit. If the nation is given another choice, it will be between soft Brexit (you argue is worse than membership)…and membership.

    This vassal state stuff is pure spin. I posted long ago my take on why voters chose sides. The ones who believed they would lose out financially by leaving voted to remain. This logic continues in force, and while you see soft Brexit as vassaldom, voters see it as a way to preserve their income. Fancy talk about constitutional principles is all very well, but money is what counts.

    Voters take the view they are already vassals, and it doesnt matter if its westminster of Brussels pulling the strings. Corbyn’s appeal is a claim to be an outsider breaking the mould of westminster politics. The tories counter him with ‘always keep a hold on nurse for fear of finding something worse’

  18. S Thomas,
    “Jezza will not say to the electorate that he is in favour of unrestricted immigration into the UK.he realizes that to do so would court political disaster.”

    And that is precisely why he is leaving it to May to announce free movement will continue. As she has rather already signed up to in that little agreement.

  19. @ COLIN – May does indeed seem to be the weakest link but she will have to stay on until after Mar’19 now. There was maybe a small window to change leader early in 2018 but that doesn’t look like it will happen now.

    @ TURK – Unless May seriously ups her PR game I hope she is gone in late 2019 or 2020 once Brexit is wrapped up and we’re in the lull of transition to an agreed final destination. I’d assign a chunk of the blame to Hammond but the buck stops with May and the yoof will see her as having continued austerity and as we see with Corbyn, Macron, Sebastian Kurz and even that Trump chap, folks appear to like someone with min. baggage even if that means min. experience! Although it is rude to risk your faithful voters, if CON want a clean majority next time they need to appeal to younger voters and a fresh face with fresh domestic policies enjoying the economic upswing from leaving EU would help broaden CON’s appeal. Some policies need not be fresh just refreshed – bring back the drop to a double lock on pensions, rebrand the dementia tax with a subtle tweak, etc. and then add on means tested maintenance grants for targeted courses, switch student loan interest from RPI+3% to CPI, etc and 50+ CON majority here we come!

    @ S THOMAS – Jezza’s greatest strength (principles) might turn out to be his biggest weakness! The “easy” movement of people (another miniscule difference between Corbyn and May) would be possible in a Norway- deal with full application of existing SM rules and a modest amount of rule bending or breaking that others in SM seem to get away with. Not that i’m in favour of a Norway- deal, just saying Jezza is creating a false excuse on SM with “easy” movement. It would be v.easy for an opposition party with the benefit of hypothetical scenarios to keep a little cake+eat it – they could trust on Macron+Merkel tweaking immigration rules once UK becomes a Brussel’s colony although if Corbyn becomes PM then the immigration issue will be in full reverse by then anyway with a 1970s style brain drain starting with the high tax payers of London and S.East!

    Most politicians would know they say any old rubbish in opposition then pretend they’d have done it differently once they finally get to power – luckily Corbyn is too principled for that!

  20. A Norway deal would not satisfy the requirements of the UK-EU agreement in December, because – since Norway is not in the Customs Union – it implies customs checks at the border in Ireland. instead, a slightly different deal in which the UK effectively stays in the Customs Union and the Single Market is implied by the EU-UK December agreement.

  21. Man C 0:1 Bristol C at half time. What on earth……

  22. TW

    It’s not really necessary as I’ve stated before for the Tories to expend much time attracting the “younger voter”. In my view any party that places it’s faith in the youth vote propelling them to victory had better make sure that the thing they want most ie a repeal of the brexit vote can be delivered .
    If we look at Labours surge in people joining the party these aren’t what could be called grass roots working class youth ,rather more from the middle class student population where being in the Labour Party is new best thing mostly it would appear based on the assumption Corbyn can reverse or water down brexit something that is likely to be beyond his gift.
    If he fails to do there bidding we will see if they remain committed Labour voters in the next GE not that there likely to flock to the Tory banner but then there’s always apathy or the Libs/green parties.

  23. @ DANNY – I love your posts :)

    if we’re doing Alice in Wonderland i’d suggest Corbyn plays the White Rabbit;
    “”Oh, my fur and whiskers! I’m late, I’m late, I’m late! Oh, dear, oh dear, oh dear! I’m here, I should be there. I’m late, I’m late, I’m late!”

    Do you fancy the Chesire Car for yourself:
    “”I am not crazy, my reality is just different from yours.”

    Regarding a Norway- deal I prefer the term Colony to Vassal state and perhaps that is the karma that UK deserves – having once been the coloniser maybe we deserve to be the colonised. I prefer not to blame the sins of the father on the son but lets not switch to biblical or Shakespeare references when Alice in Wonderland is such a gold mine and makes a change from Winnie the Pooh characters!

    @ PROFHOWARD – a lot of folks have taken to calling EEA+CU Norway- which seems to be the policy that Starmer would take us down if he was negotiating for the UK.

  24. S THOMAS

    Corbyn has clearly converted to restrictions on immigration. At the fag end of 2016 he was still very much in favour of freedom of movement. At that stage he was also keen on our remaining within the Single Market. He has clearly done a U turn here. The next batch of polls will be interesting.

  25. Trevor Warne,
    I’d say May’s optimum outcome is to deliver remaining in the EU, and being heralded a national hero for doing so. Failing that, to get the softest brexit she can.

    And her strategy to accomplish this has been to allow brexit believers full opportunity to devise a functional hard Brexit, and they have failed. The tory party has accepted it has to be soft Brexit or remain, and is working in a united way towards that. Sniping from brexiteers is all illusion aimed at muddying the water. The continued attempts to get labour involved are similarly attempts to shift the blame which will come from hard brexit voters to them.

    I assume labour has got wind that the tories are now an undeclared remain party. Any consideration of labour strategy has to consider the tories aims in this. For labour to push remain now would not help them long term, but rather provide tories with more cover to go that way.

    Labour’s best course is probably to leave the tories to upset as many of their leave voters as possible. Meanwhile continue the election strategy of ignoring the Brexit elephant in the room, and continue to push on social issues.

    On which note, was at the hospital again today. Had a good natter with others waiting about the awful car parking shortage, and whether they had actually reduced the number of parking spaces for patients in favour of staff. Which bounced back to the construction of the hospital some 20 years ago, where much of the available land was used for private housing. General agreement that the NHS strategy of concentrating specialists in different hospitals and forcing the patients to do lots of travelling was not acceptible. Another couple ferrying their own elderly relative mentioned they had been there yesterday but been sent home. Staff talking about what a day it had been yesterday and today wasnt much better.

  26. Trevor Warne,
    “Do you fancy the Chesire Car for yourself:
    “”I am not crazy, my reality is just different from yours.””

    Yes, I do. That quote is true for most politicians, I think. A random analysis website suggests,
    “The Cheshire Cat is the only character in Wonderland who actually listens to Alice. With his remarks, he teaches Alice the ‘rules’ of Wonderland. He gives her insight in how things work down there.”

  27. Messed with in an attempt to avoid auto-mod
    @Turk
    From what I’ve seen of the young labour members they are not as remain-y as you imply. Indeed I have heard a Mo’mentum branch who have denounced one of their leaders as a tra-itor for backing remain. There may, of course , be a distinction between hard core Mo’mentum Corbyn fans and other young members – we don’t see or hear much of them.
    Young voters are a different kettle of fish – very strongly remain around here.
    @Jim Jam
    I think you’re wrong to say that staying in the SM and CU would disrespect the referendum. Neither was on the ballot paper and it’s well established that a number of prominent leave supporters were clearly saying we would stay. Not that I think the man on the Clapham omnibus had then, or has now, much of a clue what these mean.
    It is tempting to believe that the referendum was really about immigration but, whilst that was obviously a factor I suspect £350M pw for the NHS and ‘all our laws are made by foreigners’ were equally strong factors. And I’m definitely of the opinion that the key driver was none of these, but falling living standards for most people.

  28. @ TURK – I would look to the 25-49 segment and non-Uni yoof and where practical use taxation to incentivize the private sector to do most of the heavy lifting. Osborne did the right thing at the right time but his choice of tools was too blunt and needs sharpening up. I’m hopeful that once Brexit uncertainty has been removed the investment backlog will be freed up but CoE can apply some incentives for investing in training, equipment, etc to ensure UK is ready for Ind.Rev.4 and the Global opportunities of Project After. I still doubt Hammond has the “sufficient energy” for the job but like May we’re stuck with him for now.

    I’d like to see supply and demand rebalanced for students. Hiking fees failed as graduate farms took over. Germany only has a 30% Uni take-up despite free fees. Market economics is failing in UK Unis but free fees would make the problem much worse and cost around 11bn/year. I’ve offered suggestions on ways to tackle the problem but I certainly wouldn’t try to buy that vote. Edit UK to England before the devolved folks point out the differences.

    With OBR using rear view mirror on productivity the GDP targets and budget deficit issue should free up Hammond’s purse strings in due course – no point having the best policies and a balanced budget if you end up in opposition and hand the keys to #10 and #11 to the Marx brothers!

  29. Some interesting discussion in the FT about being in the Customs Union and Single Market for GOODs but not for SERVICES. This resolves the border issue since nobody takes services over a physical border.*

    *Unless you are rich enough to travel with your personal hairdresser.

  30. Guy,

    Re ”I think you’re wrong to say that staying in the SM and CU would disrespect the referendum. Neither was on the ballot paper and it’s well established that a number of prominent leave supporters were clearly saying we would stay”

    You may be right but that is Labour position.

  31. We are 6 months on from a General Election where parties campaigning on a policy of leaving the EU and ending Freedom of Movement won around 85% of the popular vote.

  32. @TW “Corbyn empty-chaired at the cross-party summit on fighting Hard Brexit :)
    http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/corbyn-summit-empty_uk_5a5498e2e4b0efe47ebc659c
    Maybe they should extended the next invite to Umunna as head of a new party? :)”

    Amusing! Many a true word is spoken in jest, though. And I wonder whether the Blairs/Mandlesons/Adonises of this world might convince a serious enough rump of Labour (10-20+) to defect to a new party when push comes to shove (late 2018). I still have my doubts. But it would put the cat amongst the pigeons for Corbyn.

    @WB

    Your post is certainly reflective of a strong affection to a beloved past (whether real or imagined) in the English psyche. Reminds me of “Jerusalem”, that ode to an England being lost to an incomprehensible Industrial Revolution.

  33. @GuyMonde “it’s well established that a number of prominent leave supporters were clearly saying we would stay.”

    People keep saying this but I can find no evidence. The only thing I can find is Hannan advocating a relaxed immigration policy after we leave the EU but he does not endorse staying in the CU or SM.

    Can you point me to any interviews where these leading lights of Brexit are demanding we leave the EU but remain in all their trade structures with no say, please?

  34. Sea Change – Hannan said that “nobody is talking about leaving the Single Market”.

  35. Sea Change

    Here’s a starting point to look at statements from Leavers which appear to support staying in the Single Market.

    The names and dates will probably be enough for you to source the original interviews.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/open-britain-video-single-market-nigel-farage-anna-soubry_uk_582ce0a0e4b09025ba310fce

  36. I hadn’t realised just quite how dreadful a character Toby Young is. More interestingly, he is now under growing pressure over his £90,000 a year salary for his free schools job that he hasn’t yet quit.

    It seems that if you are in with the right crowd, there’s an extremely well paid and extremely undemanding public sector role for you. This is Theresa May’s meritocracy.

    Farcical.

  37. Tm and Brexit

    Too timid to resist it and too timid to execute it.

    IMHO everything about her political history suggests that she will leave the EU and then try and create almost exactly the same.For fear of the unknown.

  38. @Sea Changed – “Can you point me to any interviews where these leading lights of Brexit are demanding we leave the EU but remain in all their trade structures with no say, please?”

    Best to just take this one on the chin. You’ve been completely and totally stuffed this time, and all in less than twenty minutes.

    That’s the problem on UKPR. If you ask a question you don’t think there’s an answer for, someone will find it if it’s out there.

  39. Neil A

    “We are 6 months on from a General Election where parties campaigning on a policy of leaving the EU and ending Freedom of Movement won around 85% of the popular vote.”

    However, I would guess that at least something like 60% of the Labour vote agrees with Freedom of Movement. The election was about a lot more than the respective parties positions on Brexit, which is why Labour did so well.

  40. @Alec @Oldnat @GuyMonde

    Hilarious. I just knew that someone would post that.

    That video has been comprehensively debunked. In fact, the author was brutally de-bagged on the BBC for it and deservedly so.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHzmCHcM7cA

  41. I’m back from chess, but grumpy because I lost after my opponent offered a draw.

    ProfHoward
    “This resolves the border issue since nobody takes services over a physical border”

    Banking?

    Neil A
    Yes, if freedom of movement is not stopped there will be a big resurgence for UKIP at the next GE, mainly at the expense of the Tories.

  42. neil A,
    “We are 6 months on from a General Election where parties campaigning on a policy of leaving the EU and ending Freedom of Movement won around 85% of the popular vote.”

    People do keep misrepresenting the labour manifesto. It said they will respect the referendum, not follow it slavishly. They expressly stated they will place the wellbeing of the economy first, ahead of leaving anything.

    But even if you argue labour stood for a soft brexit, whereas the tories campaigned for hard, the result was a pretty equal split at around 40% each for two alternative Brexits which are incompatible. And for leave, that is the problem, in a three way choice of remain/soft brexit/hard brexit, remain would probably win. The leave vote was only won by merging alternative leave scenarios, which however cannot in reality be merged.

    This is why the tories have given up and are negotiating the softest of Brexits. People here agree this would be worse than remaining, so….QED.

  43. Sea Change,

    How about this video?

    http://efta4uk.eu/tag/dan-hannan/

    Dan Hannan singing the praises of what Norway has (while throwing in a dose of cakeism of course). He even mentions how Norway maintains the 4 Freedoms.. Dated May 2016, during the campaign. It is true that the quotes from Farage et al did not date from the referendum campaign, but I definitely heard Hannan advocating the Norway option on at least two other occasions during the campaign (He did not mention that it would mean being a vassal state though… Funny that…)

  44. Danny,

    I will repeat my assertion that in a referendum where the choices were Remain and ANY particular Brexit deal that would be offered by the EU (ie. excluding a cake and eat it deal), then Remain would win.

    That is why Leavers are so desperate to decry any more voting on this issue as “undemocratic”

    Meanwhile Prof Howard is a lone voice pointing out that the NI deal means staying in the Single Market and Customs Union.. Why does everyone else pretend it did not happen?? Before March either that deal will be signed in blood or trade talks will not start, if Barnier is to be believed. And if it is not signed in blood a General Election is likely as the DUP withdraw support..

  45. @Andrew111 – Hannan

    I’ve watched the video. At no time does he advocate staying in the SM or CU. He says we should be able to get a better deal than Switzerland (which is not in the SM/EEA or CU and has a slightly better deal than Norway according to him) – he ends by saying we should be able to trade freely while governing ourselves i.e the “Bespoke Free Trade Deal” that is current Tory policy.

    Here is his position in more detail.
    https://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/opinion/dan-hannan-access-to-the-eu-single-market-is-not-the-same-as-membership-of-it-1-7568501
    In other videos, he talks about having a relaxed immigration policy. He’s entitled to that view, the key being it would be our immigration policy.

    Next…

  46. Here are the quotes on the Single Market during the Referendum Campaign from Leavers and Remainers. Let’s not try to rewrite history.

    David Cameron, June: “The British public would be voting, if we Leave, to leave the EU and leave the Single Market.”

    George Osborne, June: “We’d be out of the Single Market, that’s the reality, Britain would be quitting, quitting the Single Market.”

    Nick Clegg, May: “To be fair, the Brexit campaign have come clean now and said we dislike it so much, we want to tear up Margaret Thatcher’s Single Europe Act – we don’t want to have anything to do with the single market.”

    Michael Gove, May: “We should be outside the Single Market.”

    Nigel Farage, February: “I don’t want to be part of the European Single Market, I want Britain to leave the European Union, be an independent country and trade with the world”.

    Boris Johnson, June: when asked about Gove saying we should leave the single market, “He was Right, He’s Right, Absolutely”

    Andrea Leadsom, April: when asked on Newsnight would be leaving the single market “Yes that is almost certainly the case.”

  47. In terms of when statements made anything after the 2015 GE result is meaningful as the Tory victory meant an in/out referendum was inevitable and the campaign in essence started from that time.

  48. Andrew111,
    “Meanwhile Prof Howard is a lone voice pointing out that the NI deal means staying in the Single Market and Customs Union.. Why does everyone else pretend it did not happen?? ”

    I don’t recall exactly who has taken this view, but several have including me. That is how I understand the words written down in it. The various provisions read cumulatively so while one might suggest only a limited ECJ role, others imply a continuing one, etc. The core article about maintaining the status quo between the Irelands, and also identically for the rest of theUk is huge in its implied scope.

    Which leaves us trying to square the irreconcileable statements made by different factions in government about its meaning (ignoring other interpretations by Uk parties who didnt actually sign up to it)

    I agree the EU has insisted the agreement so far be tranfered into a finished form of words very quickly, thus the government has only bought a very short time if it does not intend to honour the agreement it just made. So that would seem completely daft, if it were true. So one must conclude the government intends to proceeds to finalise a very soft Brexit deal. This is relativly simple to do, we just agree to follow all EU rules.

    So why are tories who have agreed the deal pretending they have not? I assume its just spin to ease leavers into accepting softer Brexit.

    The government accepts the conditions laid down by the EU whenever the EU imposes a deadline. It blusters constantly until a dadline is reached, then gives in. There is nothing else it can do because the Uks bargaining position is exceedingly weak.

    The only concessions the EU is willing to give on membership are Uk withdrawal from the governing processes of the EU, not from the rules. This is the deal the government is heading towards. It is the common feature of all deals the EU has made.

    But I assume the tory plan is to convince the UK we are better off as a member. A remarkable coup for May if she pulls it off. It might save the tory party as one of the big two, but there will still be an obvious hit to their vote share. Better that than gaining a reputation for trashing the economy, which is the alternative.

  49. Good morning all from on board the 07.31 Winchester to Waterloo Choo choo.

    That cabinet reshuffle! !

    What a shambles man what a shambles. ..

    Trimmed roon the edges but still rotten in the middle.

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