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. S THOMAS

    Stuff and nonsense. Corbyn is the one who has done a U turn and not Starmer.

  2. So long as we don’t get unlimited S Thomas…..

  3. CROFTY

    Perish the thought.

  4. Leaks from PLP meeting in the Times are perhaps as reliable as leaks from the 1922 committee meetings in the Guardian?

    On the record statements rather than something reported as being said in a private meeting possibly in response to a demand for a commitment now are more meaningful.

    Reports also out today that by easterish Labour will move to effectively advocating CU+ UK with our not being able to make trade deals but being allowed observer status or similar at trade negotiations.

    Barry Gardner being the only serious obstacle apparently which either means the reports are ill-informed or McDonnell is now on-board.

    Which to believe? As above wait for attributable comments from either Starmer or Corbyn.

  5. @Robert Newark – “So it’s a free trade deal with the single market but they are not allowed to access the EU single market in order to exercise that trade deal. I’m missing something here?”

    Semantics can be important when you are talking about the precision of language. However, there is a substantive point here. I understand what you are saying, and yes, we would be able to sell and buy from the single market area, and we could get a good free trade deal as Canada has, but that simply isn’t the same as having access to the Single Market – and note the capitalisation.

    The Single Market (SM) is a specific set of advantages that are not available to third countries. Any free trade deal with these countries is obviously inferior to access to the SM. As I pointed out, Canada has quotas on many products, for example.

    The implication of your post was that a free trade deal would be pretty much the same as the existing SM, but I was just pointing out the reality that it won’t be.

  6. More troubles for our Toby – https://www.theguardian.com/education/2018/jan/10/ucl-to-investigate-secret-eugenics-conference-held-on-campus

    Attending conferences held in secret with this kind of attendance list doesn’t sit well with his £90,000pa state funded role as head of the New Schools Network.

  7. “Interesting comments about Starmer walking out after Corbyn confirmed Labour would not seek for the UK to remain in the Single Market. Stormer has been nuanced and skilful in his handling of Labour’s Brexit portfolio. Corbyn has not been and his comments on Monday night were in my view unhelpful to the party.”

    I’m sure Corbyn exasperates Starmer but I’ve never bought the split line. For me Corbyn is parroting the pedantic legalism Starmer feeds him and just not always getting it out quite right.

    When he says “The Single Market” is the EU so when we leave one we leave the other he is saying what is legally correct. What the Treaties say. What the Commission says.

    When he says “it’s not a members club”, narrowly legally correct again.

    Others conflate the EEA and the SM. Starmer does not. The EEA extends most of the features of the SM to the territory of the EEA. Not all though, and even if it did it would still be the EEA. Something other than the SM.

    For me, this is not creative ambiguity, it’s creative pedantry. It allows Starmer’s other policy of anything that is economically justified to mean literally anything. Bespoke agreements, an EEA option, even a UK EU economic area that has entirely identical principles to the SM. All are acceptable, because none, on his narrow and strict legal reading of the Treaties puts the U.K. IN the SM after leaving the EU. Because on his narrow but pedantically correct reading, that is impossible.

  8. PeterW

    “this is not creative ambiguity, it’s creative pedantry”

    I largely agree, but the differences you describe – “The EEA extends most of the features of the SM to the territory of the EEA. Not all though, and even if it did it would still be the EEA. Something other than the SM. and that free trade agreements are something else again – are more than pedantry, I think.

    The differences are between different sets of international obligations, and the confusion created between them isn’t accidental, but deliberate confusion of the electorate by politicians on all sides.

    Sadly, that confusion is repeated by the media and pollsters. Even the October ScotCen/NatCen survey, reported today, repeats that by reporting on attitudes to the “Single Market” being ascertained by questions on (one-way) “free trade”.

  9. Creative Precision sounds nicer.

  10. Alec
    “The implication of your post was that a free trade deal would be pretty much the same as the existing SM, but I was just pointing out the reality that it won’t be.”

    We will not know what the specific terms are until the trade negotiations have been finalised but once again you are conflating access to, with membership of. Something that Brillo has constantly pulled remainers up on.

    The latter includes freedom of movement and ECJ overlordship. The former may or may not include access to services and may or may not cover all trade being tarrif free, as now. Of course it will be the case that exports to Europe will have to meet European regulations, just as exports to the US have to meet US regulations.
    You can bet your bottom dollar that the French will want wine and cheese tarrif free and the Germans will want BMW likewise, to parrot two examples of why the EU will benefit just as much as the UK from a good agreement.
    It’s encouraging to see Hammond taking the argument to the heart of Europe addressing business leaders over the heads of the Commission today.

  11. “It’s encouraging to see Hammond taking the argument to the heart of Europe addressing business leaders over the heads of the Commission today.”

    That’s exactly what Rosie and Daisie were saying when I tucked them up this evening.

  12. mike pearce

    i think you are wrong .Jezza has a long and distinguished anti-eu c.v.it goes back to the seventies.

    starmer is doing a good lawyers job of keeping the labour rift together. But that is all it is:a lawyers form of words that satisfies everybody yet satisfies nobody. It is not designed to be a serious negotiating position but is designed to keep the maximum vote until brexit happens when they can claim that it is too late to do anything and blame the Tories for the chaos or if it goes smoothly not to be positioned as having been against it.
    The fact that starmer has to hedge the position means the leadership have not yet decided that the brexit will be a disaster. Thus the more tM looks like pulling off a deal the more reluctant Labour will be to move to a pro _EU stance. That is why ,if anything Labour has moved slightly towards brexit since the christmas “deal” on the divorce settlement.

  13. Trevor Warne,
    “lowering aggregate wealth”

    Now thats the thing. All the economic theory and practice I have seen says that trickle down doesnt work. The world became rich once the rich became poor. Yet the rich stayed rich. The more evenly wealth is distributed, the more it grows because everyone can participate in the economy.

    Right wing policy of encouraging the concentration of wealth doesnt work. At present the economy (and not just ours) is propped up by debt, where instead of paying people so they can participate in the economy, we have given them loans. All very well until the growing mass of loans becomes unserviceable. The current system has been slowing down since around 2000. The 2008 crash was the result of ingenious attempts to sell some of the worthless debt and keep the system going.

    Colin,
    “You think that EU Free Movement & EU Legal Sovereignty ( ie “where we are now” ) have become a net majority desire of the electorate since the Referendum ?

    Posting on a polling site, I’d say that is a badly worded question. I dont desire to continue paying my mortgage, but I will because I want to keep the house.

    Sea Change,
    “Nobody has presented any evidence that any of the Leavers said we must stay in the SM”

    Another example, of the same thing. The leave campaign quite deliberately avoided proposing details of what would happen in the event of a leave vote. Leavers have done quite a lot of blaming the then government for not having gone into detail about leaving, but it was their campaign to leave and they studiously avoided details of what might happen. Leavers left it totally vague what might happen and ruled out nothing. See, I agree with your statement, but I point out the corollary that they didnt say we must leave the SM either.

  14. @Danny” See, I agree with your statement, but I point out the corollary that they didnt say we must leave the SM either.”

    This is not correct Danny, they did say we were leaving the SM with a Leave vote:

    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.”

    And the Remainer-in-chiefs agreed with them:

    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.”

    How many times does this need to be posted?

  15. @Alec “It’s also worth noting that you didn’t stick to the strict definition of the SM and CU – you refered explicitly to “all their trade structures”. You could argue that this means the same as the SM and CU, but you did leave some room for interpretation.”

    Trade structures are clearly CU and SM as we were talking about those throughout the conversations. Not sure what that has got to do with you thinking a stitch-up video that totally distorted what they were saying was evidence. It clearly wasn’t. No main leaver said we should remain members of either structure. That is a fact. And no evidence has been supplied that says otherwise.

    “If you have a look at page 11 of the manifesto presentation on the Vote Leave website (‘Vote Leave – our Case’ – http://www.voteleavetakecontrol.org/our_case.html) you will see that it states: “There is a free trade zone from Iceland to Turkey and the Russian border and we will be part of it”.

    You and that distortion chap from Open Britain would get on well! You are very conveniently leaving out the next two lines that talk about trade with the EU:

    – We don’t need to accept control of the EU Court to trade with Europe

    – Countries around the world trade with the EU without accepting the ultimate control of the EU court

    The Free Trade Zone they are talking about is not the SM or the CU or the EEA. There are plenty of other countries in Europe who trade outside of these structures tariff-free with the EU. The Leave position was a bespoke trade deal. As other countries have preferential trade deals and are not in those structures.

    From the same document the stated position of the Leave Campaign:

    A Vote to Leave takes back control
    We stop handing over £350 million a week to Brussels
    We take back control of our borders and can kick out violent criminals
    We take back the power to kick out the people who make our laws
    We decide what we spend our own money on
    We free our businesses from damaging EU laws and regulations
    We take back the power to make our own trade deals
    We have better relations with our European friends
    We regain our influence in the wider world and become a truly global nation once again

    There ain’t no SM or CU for that.

    Now, as I have said, repeatedly, the EU may not want to do a bespoke trade deal. That is their right. But trying to paint the Leave side’s position as inconsistent with leaving the SM and CU is not tenable. And there is no evidence I have seen to disprove that.

    I naturally concede that there was little detail on how this would be achieved other than it’s in the EU’s best interest to agree to a bespoke deal with free, frictionless trade.

  16. Remainer posts reaching a new low see the rather purile 4.41 post. Is this an example of detailed evidence based thinking?

    Meanwhile the NIESR latest GDP forecast for 2017
    “Our monthly estimates of GDP suggest that output grew by 0.6 per cent in the final quarter of 2017, an increase compared with the third quarter when the economy expanded by 0.4 per cent and the strongest quarterly growth estimate since the fourth quarter of 2016. Based on this, the UK economy expanded by 1.8 per cent in 2017.” Only a forecast of course, so we shall see.

    However clearly we can say “So much for Osborne’s recession”. We probably grew as fast as France in 2017 then.

    SEA CHANGE
    Having read your debate with Alec and Danny with both interest and amusement you are a clear winner IMO.

    Have a good day all.

  17. @Sea Change – “You and that distortion chap from Open Britain would get on well! You are very conveniently leaving out the next two lines that talk about trade with the EU:

    – We don’t need to accept control of the EU Court to trade with Europe

    – Countries around the world trade with the EU without accepting the ultimate control of the EU court”

    No, I’m completely different to anyone trying to distort things. You are completely correct in pointing out the two lines above. I did say that the Vote Leave promises were internally inconsistent, which you have helpfully pointed out.

    At no point did I suggest that we could not trade with the EU’s free trade block after Brexit, and that we could do this without ultimate control of the ECJ. You’ve missed the point. We ca trade, but that is categorically not the same as being part of the free trade block stretching from Iceland to the Russia border and Turkey. That is a defined block, with a regulatory structure, and we would be outside that.

    Vote Leave promised a series of contradictory outcomes that cannot logically happen, and you have just helped make that point.

    @Robert Newark – as with @Sea Change, you are missing the fundamental point. Whatever free trade deal we negotiatiate it will be worse than we currently have. That’s a given, so you need to just accept that and accept that in terms of trade, there will be negatives to us leaving the EU. These may be outweighed by the positive gains – that’s a matter of debate – but stop [retending that we will have unfettered access to the largest free trade area in the world – we won’t. This doesn’t mean we won’t be able to trade with them – just that some of the terms of that trade will deteriorate. It really isn’t a difficult concept to grasp.

    As for your quote above, you are well behind the times on this. Davis and others have been lecturing EU business leaders for 18 months on this, teling them to lobby their governments. In return, they have consistently and publicly said that maintaining the integrity of the SM is more important to them than giving the UK a privileged deal.

  18. @SEACHANGE
    @DANNY

    Not to refight the referendum again I agree that the Leave campaign said essentially that they favoured a hard/clean brexit with everything replicated in a CFTA as Farage said to Barnier they wanted control of immigration form the EU and that laws were made in UK and that is what we voted for. personally I would not open the can of worms that is the practical limits of what this meant

    it was argued at the time by prominent leavers that this would be easily achievable. When it became clear it was not (for remainers before the vote ) the argument became the how and the what we actually get

    I believe that is why we have the argument about semantics. it also became clear to some Leavers that the UK was deeply divided. Indeed after the vote Hannan went on Newsnight and said because the vote was so close maybe we should join the EEA as a compromise.

    The point I would make is that a hard brexit is intellectually consistent and most every other form of brexit is a clearly a compromise that has no real gain. If we remain in the EU orbit we end up taking account of their laws and regulations without a say. Other than immigration where I think there is a consensus to reduce it but only if we get free trade and then it becomes more muted it is not clear what we would do differently.

    The mantra of ‘Take Back Control’ and ‘When We leave we could …………’ was excellent it batted away everything as if our current NHS crisis is about the EU but I digress

    The point I would argue was that at no time did we actually debate the compromises that had to be made since both sides made the argument a simple one, when it clearly had implications across a whole spheres of people’s lives. My personal realisation of this was when I started to talk to someone whom voted leave about the border and she said she did not care.

    That is the problem we had with referendum it was not the best way to resolve a multifaceted issue and yet here we are.

    The problem I see was that the Leave plan was to tell the EU what it should do after telling them that we believe that you tell us what to do all the time so we are leaving. I think the on my visits to EU countries most people took that with a disbelief, because they knew about UK involvement in many issues which the UK itself appeared two faced (telling the electorate one thing while doing the other) and secondly why would the EU not look after their own interest first we are no longer member of the club.

    In simple terms it is not automatically in a countries interest to have Free trade. Indeed many countries rose to prominence because they protected their industries such that they could compete, including the UK and USA. So part of the problem was that leave would not concede that things could be worse off, would be much more difficult and more over our much vaunted advantages may just not be as big as people suggest. it is why we had we buy their BMWs so they will have to give us what we want. (which I find funny now because we not buying cars, theirs or ours )

    In reality I believe that what will happen is a messy fudge in which both side will point to a clause that they will hold dear and after about 10 years we have wondered why the hell did we do this when we have another winter NHS crisis and commenting upon this.

    Part of the agnst I have is not that the UK is leaving and being treated as a third party but actually the lack of recognition of what that means indeed David Davis letter that was leaked would have made for pure satire.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jan/10/david-davis-leaked-letter-brexit-cakeism

    lastly most of my concern is that as a nation and as a government brexit has diverted much of our attention away from the fact that irrespective of the EU the UK needs to make a number of big decisions on things like the NHS, Education and Skills and investment. Brexit as is, has exercised people so much we have forgotten that in my view it is just a way to create a another tribal/wedge issue, it is a civil war within the Tory party and it is never going to solve any of the problems I mentioned since they have nothing to do with the EU

  19. @Sea Change and @Robert Newark – one other way to look at this is to flip it around.

    If I claimed that we would get no benefit whatsoever from signing new free trade deals with the likes of India and China because we already have access to their markets, you would (quite rightly) tell me I was talking rubbish.

    This is in effect what you are doing by claiming that we can retain full access to the SM/CU/free trade area as described by Vote Leave.

    The bottom line is that Vote Leave promised we would stay in the free trade area known as the CU, and we can’t do this.

  20. ROBERT NEWARK

    @”It’s encouraging to see Hammond taking the argument to the heart of Europe addressing business leaders over the heads of the Commission today.”

    Yes.

    Interesting stuff in Times today on prospects for Fin. Services arrangements.

    There is much water to go under the bridge yet-and far too much speculation on UKPR about what can or cannot be.

    Tusk says POland will try to leace EU !

  21. sea Change,
    “How many times does this need to be posted?”

    Either none, or rather a lot. One of the reasons I dismissed leave was because they didnt have any answers. They gave supeficial visions of life outside the EU without any detail. Airly claiming we would leave the EU and life would be rosy. Quite honestly I dont really remember any detail of what happens next, this has all happened after the event as people try to figure how it is possible to implement the decision. The more so-called debates on the issue I listend to, the more I heard the same very broad points over and over. Admittedly on both sides, but then we knew exactly what we have if we remain. Leave had no plan, and assuming they considered it carefully in private, must have deliberately not had one publicly because they could see what was coming if they did.

    The reason the tories are now heading for soft Brexit and even remain is not for want of trying to create a viable hard brexit, but because they cannot.

    The hard leave plan for Brexit, such as it is, still amounts to leaving the EU but then recreating it with a different name. The EU isnt going to accept that, thus the only option becomes brexit so soft it amounts to continued membership of the market. But this has always been the leave goal. The whole thing has become an exercise in making the Uk the laughing stock of the world.

  22. The plot thickens-perhaps.

    “Theresa May is now free to carry out reform of tuition fees after she sacked the two ministers who blocked her plans, her former chief of staff says today.
    Nick Timothy says Justine Greening, the former education secretary, opposed plans for a review to cut tuition fees during her time on Whitehall, forcing the rethink into the long grass.

    Alongside the former universities minister Jo Johnson, Ms Greening refused to back a wide-ranging review which could have allowed institutions to charge different fees in a bid to increase competition.”

    DT

  23. Colin

    “There is much water to go under the bridge yet-and far too much speculation on UKPR about what can or cannot be.”

    How true, and how endless the speculation!

  24. Colin – Institutions can charge different fees now it is just that virtually all of the charge the max allowed.

    As often happens the Ceiling became the norm.

  25. Alec,
    ” you are missing the fundamental point. Whatever free trade deal we negotiatiate it will be worse than we currently have. That’s a given, so you need to just accept that ”

    Ah, but you miss the point. The aim of posting such things is to persuade people that there is no difference between membership and access, and you cannot do that from a starting of point of admitting they are not the same.

    passtherockplease,
    ” it is a civil war within the Tory party”

    The irony is, I think they have now settled the war and all want to remain. Boris never wanted to win. Remember his face when he got the news! May was chosen as a credible leader to reverse the official policy of leaving. It had to be a remain ringmaster who could call a halt once the brexit team finally proved leaving was impossible. It had to be someone with no political prospects to lose, because the diehard leavers would hate her for it afterwards.

    ” most of my concern is that as a nation and as a government brexit has diverted much of our attention away from the fact that irrespective of the EU the UK needs to make a number of big decisions on things like the NHS, Education and Skills and investment. ”

    Maybe you missed it, in 2010 we had a new government which decided to cut spending on all those things. We had the policy settled, Brexit has derailed it a little, but really only because the underlying economic crisis is worsening as a result.

  26. @SeaChange

    It doesn’t really matter whether Leave promised to leave the SM, remain in it, or both at different times.

    Unless there is an unprecedented reversal (a EU-turn?) in the EU’s hitherto steadfast position, the UK will have to choose between remaining in the SM, with all that implies, or losing the current level of access for services.

    There is a tendency amongst leavers to avoid facing up to this, preferring to believe in cake and eat it. The longer this unrealistic hope is clung to, the shorter will be the preparation time remaining for the hard reality for services of life out in the cold.

  27. JIM JAM

    Fair comment.

    The implication of the reports is that they blocked other “reforms”.

    Who knows whether these things are fact or spin?

  28. @Somerjohn,

    I won’t argue with that. I’ve posted that it’s up to the EU and we are either going to get a Bespoke Deal or it’s WTO-barebones. My money is currently 70% for bespoke vs 30% barebones based on the economic realities of a WTO.

    @Danny “The irony is, I think they have now settled the war and all want to remain. Boris never wanted to win. Remember his face when he got the news!”

    That is a total projection on your part. David Cameron had just resigned and the Tory Party were watching, glee would have been the last thing he would have wanted to project.

    @Alec “This is in effect what you are doing by claiming that we can retain full access to the SM/CU/free trade area as described by Vote Leave.”

    I have never claimed that. I have always said that if we got a bespoke trade deal it would clearly be on worse terms than we have now.

    “The bottom line is that Vote Leave promised we would stay in the free trade area known as the CU, and we can’t do this.”

    Sigh. They didn’t as I have pointed out, and repeatedly shown, but continue this fantasy if you must.

  29. @Colin – Nick Timothy

    He seems to have rather too much information. Is Theresa May that unschooled in the dark arts that she uses such an obvious conduit?

    @TOH – GDP

    The figures are surprisingly good. Best industrial figures since 1994 as well. Sainsbury’s have upgraded their profit forecast too.

    Was also interesting reading about the Chinese banks locating to London. When they were asked about Brexit they brushed it off saying 100 years of infrastructure and experience was far more important.

  30. “Voter turnout in the UK is 9 percentage points higher than official estimates suggest, according to a study.
    Figures recorded a dramatic rise in turnout to 68.8 per cent at the 2017 general election, driven by a surge in political participation among young people and former non-voters.
    However, researchers at Oxford University and the University of Manchester have found that turnout last year was actually in the high 70s and could have been as high as 80.3 per cent.
    The error is explained by issues with records held by the Electoral Commission, which manages voter registration. In the past, turnout was calculated by dividing the number of votes cast by the number of entries on the register.
    However, the study’s authors found there were more entries on the register than registered voters.
    This is partly because those with second homes and students are registered twice”

    Times

  31. I know a few of you take in interest in procedure so here is one to mull over.

    https://www.wigantoday.net/news/councillor-s-resignation-u-turn-blocked-1-8951118

    Councillor resigns giving a leaving date of 20th February but takes back word (as they say in these parts) and decides he wants to carry on. Council says he can’t and resignation takes effect from the day he tells them. He says he can- any views?

  32. SEA CHANGE

    It seems to me that May might still have a line of communication with him.

  33. SEA CHANGE

    INteresting stuff on Chinese Banks in London.

    When you look at the global rankings, the sheer critical mass of expertise in London compared to the other Financial Centres is astounding.

    http://uk.businessinsider.com/most-powerful-financial-centres-gfci-index-for-2017-2017-9/#12-montreal-up-two-places-this-year-montreal-is-canadas-second-highest-ranking-financial-centre-9

    We should be hugely proud of this.

  34. @Shevii

    not sure about councillors, will have to research electoral law but in general employment law notice, once given cannot be unilaterally withdrawn (see Riordan v War Office [1959] 3 All ER 552).

  35. It’s interesting to see the True BeLeavers defining their Articles of Faith against which heresy and betrayal can be defined.

  36. @ Shevii

    The relevant section is in the Local Government Act 1972 section 84 Resignation.

    A person elected to any office under this Act ——–may at any time resign his office by written notice delivered—
    (a) except in a case falling within paragraph (b), (c) or (d) below, to the proper officer of the council;
    (b) in the case of a person elected to a corporate office in a London borough, to the proper officer of the borough;
    (c) in the case of a parish or community councillor, to the chairman of the parish or community council;
    (d) in the case of a chairman of a parish or community council or of a parish meeting, to the council or the meeting, as the case may be;
    and his resignation shall take effect upon the receipt of the notice by the person or body to whom it is required to be delivered.

  37. @COLIN

    I have found it interesting that Tories are now selling Labour policies as their own. In one part they jeer that there is no magic money tree and then in the other they say well, this is broken and we need to spend/borrow money to fix it.

    Despite that I am glad that stupid policies are being reversed however I will say that the fact that we are having stupid policies reversed should not see those that voted for and supported those policies not take a fair share of the blame.

    What I have found interesting is that much of the policy reversals is not a reaction to doing what is right. We have had a problem with NHS funding since 2010, it has clear not kept up with our ageing population (indeed paradoxically the only thing that kept it from being worse was immigration). I am hoping that Hunt conversion to the fact that the NHS is underfunded and under resourced and the manner of the underfunding an under resourcing is the causing a structural collapse.

    The Times article is indeed interesting there is a paywall but you get two article per week free

    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/eu-signals-fresh-hope-for-banks-after-brexit-7bk380tqs

    What is clearly going to happen is that the UK will be asked to pay for access for certain sectors according to proposals seen.

    “British financial firms will be allowed privileged access to European Union markets in return for payments to Brussels under plans being considered by countries including Germany.”

    In the end I reckon we will be paying 5-10B euros a year all told when you include euratom eurasmus ESA and the rest.

    As to Tusk and Poland exit the E, the Justice and Law party have said several times they are not leaving the EU. there is just too much economic interest in them staying. They may share our problems but I do not think they are mad enough to bail out of the EU. They may get kicked out and that will be interesting since it would make countries like Ukraine and Turkey’s entry much more difficult.

    The good news that UK essentially relies on a vibrant EU for improving its economy is something that will help concentrate the minds I presume on a deal.

  38. The Other Howard: Remainer posts reaching a new low see the rather purile 4.41 post. Is this an example of detailed evidence based thinking?

    Cut down on the grumpy pills, Howard. It was plainly a speculation about a feeling – rhetorically asking for evidence. Your criticism is no more valid than if that same criticism were applied to the quote I have made of you.

  39. I’m just going through Khan’s new impact studies. It is of course “the usual guff” of flawed assumptiuons but I’ll highlight the key comical finding.

    The whole difference between Scenario 1 (Remain in all but name) and Scenario 5 (Crash out to WTO) is due to the difference in population growth assumed by the model!!

    You can see this most clearly in Table 5.2 on page 41:

    Scenario 1:
    Employment 32.6mm
    Population 71.3mm
    % employed: 45.7%

    Scenario 5:
    Employment 32.1mm
    Population 69.7mm
    % employed: 46.1%

    “Jobs first Brexit” measured as a % is therefore best achieved with a WTO crash-out!!! I wonder why the Remain press didn’t spot that :-)
    If you adjust the GDP changes to GDP/Capita then all the scenarios come out almost identical!

    The sector and regional findings are interesting, although conflict with other studies and show the highly subjective nature of the assumptions used (espcially the “robust” requirement of no HMG intervention). Link to the report:
    https://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/preparing_for_brexit_final_report_v2.pdf

  40. PTRP

    @”I have found it interesting that Tories are now selling Labour policies as their own. In one part they jeer that there is no magic money tree and then in the other they say well, this is broken and we need to spend/borrow money to fix it.”

    I don’t remember any Tory administration saying it will not spend when spending is needed.

    The invariably think more about how much to spend , and tend to concentrate on outputs as much as inputs.

    So I think the differences are not absolute in the way you describe. They are differences of priority & criteria.

    @”UK essentially relies on a vibrant EU for improving its economy”

    Does it?

    Can you say why you believe that this is so please.

  41. @COLIN

    I think it is important that we preserve London as the financial centre it provisions close to a large proportion of our service exports and provide good proportion of our tax revenues despite the unrolling of the losses during 2008 GFE. It does point to a problem that we have whereby regions disparity which generated the problems we have which I believe were one of the drivers for leaving the EU may not get solved. I think the idea of TREVOR WARNEs trickle down (indeed enhanced as he puts it) seems ot to work and the problem that we have is that whilst London is doing great (and surprisingly therefore voting Labour on a consistent basis one has to ask how we move beyond this

    This article actually point to the thing I have been talking about with respect to regional GDP per capital growth

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/10/blunt-heckler-economists-failing-us-booming-britain-gdp-london

    I also saw this it has weaker content than an article in the FT which kind of talks about immigration and wages. The FT one had lots of examples but I no longer subscribe to it as part of readiness for brexit spending.

    http://uk.businessinsider.com/unemployment-uk-deutsche-bank-brexit-2017-9

  42. @COLIN

    With respect they have not been spending and have denied there was a problem for some time now. It is why the NHS provider has been writing in the guardian

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jan/11/winter-crisis-nhs-fix-care-safety#comment-110695681

    I accept you are a Tory supporter but spending on the NHS has not kept pace with the fact that our elderly population has increased dramatically and that the increases in spending have been marginal at best and have led to a reduction in capital spending which essentially means we have less beds.

    It has meant that the NHS is hugely efficient in utilising those beds but it only take a blip in patient number caused by an number of issues flu bug normal winer ailments and there is just not enough beds. This has been a long standing argument from health professionals for some time. that primary care via GPs is broken because we do not have enough GPs to deliver preventative care.( we sit near the bottom of GP per head of population. We also sit below many of our EU peers regarding the money in the health service in terms of GDP.

    Now I can buy the argument that everyone had to take their fair share of cuts but I think that in real terms the NHS has been taking a pretty large share of cuts. their staff have been taking a real cut in incomes and even now we have force nurses to take on loans and whilst places are full we are short of both nurses and doctors and most all other health professionals.

    Essentially the government has squeezed efficiencies out of the NHS in a madcap way that is unsustainable and indeed counterproductive.

    Since 40% of our exports go to the EU if the EU collapsed we would have real problems recovering that income elsewhere would you not think and the devaluation of the UK currency coupled with increase in growth throught the EU zone has been a big boost for UK. Moreover when EZ was in turmoil and we had growth even as a market that as a whole was not growing our exports to places like Germany was increasing. so I think that it is a fair summary to say that UK economic well being and growth is dependent on EU.

    The point that Leave has been saying is that they want to reduce that dependency because the other markets will offer more in the future and they can be exploited better outside the EU with a deals which better favour our economy. Since we are not there yet I think my point stands just look at the figures I don’t think what I am saying is controversial. Indeed the effort to get a trade deal with the EU speaks volumes for it being true as we could leave on WTO rules at any time and trade between te EU and the UK will carry on will it not?

  43. @ DANNY There is a branch of modern economic theory that I subscribe to that highlights the flaws in ne0liberalism. “Enhanced trickle down” simply means a modest rise in taxes for higher earners and a more targeted application of corporate tax incentives and encouraging more corporate involvement in societal needs (e.g. training).

    Ne0liberalism had/has flaws but is still be adopted by EU, most vividly seen by the Troika response and the pursuit of current account surpluses. Whllst I don’t agree with everything he says, I’ll save myself some typing and suggest reading some of J.Stiglitz work in particular his book “The Price of Inequality”. Some of the recent IMF thinking is along these lines and is the source of the developing cracks in their support of Troika programs. Osborne was a ne0liberal and sadly Hammond seems to be the same – this over reliance on “markets” shows the lack of “sufficient energy” that many Leavers like myself are highly critical of.

  44. PTRP

    @” London is doing great (and surprisingly therefore voting Labour on a consistent basis one has to ask how we move beyond this”

    Why do people who consistently vote Labour have to ask how we can stop London “doing great” ?

    London -as the Capital- has the biggest numbers when you look at GDP stats.

    But in terms of growth other Regions are doing better.

    https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/grossvalueaddedgva/bulletins/regionalgrossvalueaddedincomeapproach/december2016

    There is more to do on shifting economic critical mass from SE to the Regions.

    I understand Industrial & Transport Policy is aimed at doing that.

    I agree that it is very important.

    On Migrant Labour post Brexit. Yes I agree there are concerns in some industrial sectors. But we haven’t seen the post Brexit Immigration Policy yet. We know it will be focused on sectors in need-how successful it will be come the day-who knows?

    Meanwhile, the bottoming out of unemployment , which is presumably exacerbating skills gaps seems to be triggering the long awaited improvement in productivity. !

  45. PTRP

    AW doesn’t like endless arguing on the perceived merits & demerits of specific policies-so I wont respond on NHS spending -or Labour’s approach to so-called “privatisation”.

    re @”Since 40% of our exports go to the EU if the EU collapsed we would have real problems recovering that income elsewhere would you not think”

    Certainly-but who says the EU economy is going to collapse?

    And I was responding to your asertion that we “rely on ” the EU economy. We don’t do we?

  46. @colin

    Timothy’s intervention re Greening and education policy shows two things:

    A. May appointed the wrong Minister to a ( from her point of view ) key policy job.

    B. Even before her General Election misjudgement May did not have the Prime Ministerial authority to drive her preferred policy through.

    If May does have links to Timothy she May want to suggest a period of silence on his part would be welcome.

  47. HIRETON

    Could well be-yep.

    I see Gove has already identified the top 2 candidates for Leader post May-from the newly promoted ranks.

    :-) :-)

  48. TO

    “Cut down on the grumpy pills, Howard. It was plainly a speculation about a feeling – rhetorically asking for evidence. Your criticism is no more valid than if that same criticism were applied to the quote I have made of you.”

    Not grumpy at all, actually amused. Good to see your watching my posts carefully.

    Sea Change

    Good news about Chinese Banks and their comments about Brexit.

  49. The section of Khan’s reports that actually focus on his area (London) are fascinating and great news for Leave!

    Under the status quo of Scenario 1, London would have a population of over 10million by 2030 (growing by 0.9% per annum) and an employment rate of 52.5%.

    Under the crash-out worst case scenario of Scenario 5 (or the managed WTO exit of Scenario 4), London would have a population of 9.6million by 2030 (growing at 0.5% per annum) and a HIGHER employment rate of 53.9%

    if Londoners want to see a slower growth in population (less stress on societal shared goods such as NHS, schools, environment, etc), higher % employment and higher GDP per capita then they should prefer a WTO outcome.

    This appears to be an own goal by Khan although I doubt the Leave press will pick it up (I’ve forwarded suggestions though).

    Quite why Khan is using GLA funds to produce national reports is a separate matter – if he wants to form a new Remain/Return party then by all means he should do and he would appear well placed to head that party up!

  50. Scenario 2 is ‘ – Two-year transition followed by SM membership without CU’
    I would be happy with that, would almost certainly mean continueing freedom of movement in one form or another, but a price well worth paying

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