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 “Careful there will be ructions on Mount McOlympus where so many of our friends from the far North have their crofts if you challenge their exceptionalism or that they,horror of horrors, are the ideological extremists.”

    :)

    @Colin

    Thanks those were interesting articles. I’ve always thought it rather risible the idea that Germany is altruistic. The Euro has been a boon for them to permanently have an export advantage and it has nicely allowed them to hollow out other less efficient EU countries industries. Of course, if it all implodes (as it should without a proper fiscal union) their Target 2 liabilities could deluge them in debt.

  2. Somerjohn

    “All we need now is a spiffing new name to reflect our glorious independence. Britannia, perhaps? Or would Bankruptia be more accurate?”

    No it would not, in the medium to long term Britain will be far better off than now. We will prosper outside the EU, as itdeclines and slowly collapses into the mire.

    I have little time for this site at the moment as the absolute nonsense posted by Remainers is such a bore, but I just had to reply to that particular piece. There is absolutely no sign that the UK will go bankrupt, in fact the latest signs are that the OBR and the IFS have yet again been too gloomy in their forecasts.

    Happy New Year to all, even Remainers, hopefully you will come to your senses as time goes on.

  3. @Charles “You once told me that in relation to Brexit in the end ‘wise heads would prevail’. As I take you for a rational and well-informed Brexiter I found this reassuring. Are you still of the same opinion? At present the various sides are not agreed on what a ‘wise solution’ would be and insofar as there is one it is probably not on offer. Both major parties then paper over their disagreements by claiming to pursue goals that in the end are not going to be achieved.”

    Well, we got through phase 1 in the end with a classic EU fudge. Red lines were not so red as the situation had been painted into a corner. You can’t solve the border without discussing trade and I do believe we’ll end up with a Norway/Sweden type border solution for N.I. in the end.
    Yes, I think it will be expensive to administer due to the number of routes.

    The UK France/Belgium/Netherlands Borders is easier. Again there will need to be significant investments on both sides to deal with rules of origin.There is already significant contact between the regions affected as so many jobs are on the line.

    Economic reality will demand that a deal is done IMO. It won’t be as good as being a member of course. Will the City of London lose Euro clearing? Probably, but it’s only a relatively small part of its business. It is in the EU’s interest to continue to use the City so there is likely to be some EU fudge on equivalence.

    If you made me bet, I’d say there was a 70% chance of a bespoke trade deal at the current time. I’m not discounting political upheavals on both sides to derail a deal, but I do think that chance has receded somewhat.

    @Charles “To be honest I am not that reassured by your current advice that I accept Brexit, hope it is a manifest disaster and then aim to rejoin in 5 to 10 years time. This is because a) I doubt committed Brexiters will accept that it is a manifest disaster, claiming instead that the true policy was never properly implemented and b) I suspect that we would not get back without agreeing to a lot of things that even I would see as a bad idea (e.g. joining the EURO).”

    As to point A, if they get their wish for full independence then they won’t have a leg to stand on if it goes totally pear-shaped. But if some halfway house is agreed or vassaldom then I believe that solves nothing as the argument remains.

    As to point B that may well be the case already! If we tried to revoke and that was knocked back by the ECJ then we are bound by A50 to rejoin under Article 49 with a completely new application.

  4. AW,
    ” (presumably because they see them as having a democratic duty to implement the referendum result).”

    I can see why this is touted as an explanaton of the apparent contradiction between views on whether the result was right and what to do now. But does it actually make sense?

    Surely someone sensitive to the demands of democracy to accept a group result, would be equally sensitive to the demands of democracy to constantly review decisions, in case the view has changed.

    Granted voters are notorious for geting muddled over agruments, especially where logic contradicts what is their view anyway, but the group concerned is one which is supposed to have already accepted logic trumping heart. Democratic logic insists any result is open to change.

    One might then turn to the question of how many people understand the polling, that there now seems to be a modest lead for remain. If people arent aware of this, then they might feel they must go along with a view held by the majority at the vote. This is the sort of situation which could unwind during a campaign, as presumably dramatically happened in the recent election.

    Alternatively, there might be a problem with the questions. Respondents are being herded into answers they might not exactly accept but are the best options available.

    Some posts above talk about the possibility of being remainer, but still believing the long term better option is to leave the the EU at this point. I can see two possible reasons, one that the EU will evolve better without the Uk and that this is to everyones long term better interest (including the UK), or two that the UK will eventually rejoin anyway, but unless it suffers the lesson of leaving it will never now be at peace with itself. This second school might indeed incude very hard remainers, who seek a UK fully integrated into a single european state, and see this as the only way it can be accomplished. (Juncker might be of this school)

    It seems to me one reason remainers in government are so quiet is precisely because they accept the need to allow leavers to try to make Brexit work. But (by definition) don’t believe this is possible.

    Thus the question ceases to be one about accepting logic over heart, and agreeing that because there was a democratic vote it has to be accepted, but in reality is still a heart issue.

  5. @Danny

    Very good post. I’d add there are some federalist Remainers who are also concerned that Brexit just might be a success and that would crush their unification dreams for generations, perhaps forever.

  6. The Other Howard,
    “I have little time for this site at the moment as the absolute nonsense posted by Remainers is such a bore,”

    Morning Howard, and a merry xmas if not too late. With reference to my last post, you seem to be a ‘heart’ man. I honestly do not see that logic is on your side of the argument re the economic benefits of membership. Economists might be wrong, but they clearly think its a mistake to leave the EU. Nor are the arguments on your side re sovereignty, and re that bane of politicians, immigration, successive UK governments have consistently welcomed it. No change likely there.

    ” hopefully you will come to your senses as time goes on.”
    Both sides seem to believe they will be vindicated by events, eventually confirming the result they seek.

    Sea Change,
    “Well, we got through phase 1 in the end with a classic EU fudge.”
    We did not. We got through by capitulating to EU demands. I agree that Uk politicians have spun this as merely a bargaining counter which does not mean what it says. But the EU shows every sign of expecting the UK to follow through on what it has already agreed. More, the EU shows every sign of insisting we transfer this into formally binding terms before anything else.

    The situation appears to be that the government has accepted the logic the Uk must remain, and the fudge is entirely on our side of spinning a way to do this without seeming to.

  7. @ Danny

    “One might then turn to the question of how many people understand the polling, that there now seems to be a modest lead for remain.”

    The problem here is that most people do not take a great interest in polling in the way the members of this site do. All most people know about polling is that they get everything wrong – 2015 GE, 2017 GE, Brexit, Trump – so it’s no good saying to people, “The latest polls show…” because they’ll just dismiss them out of hand and may even think the opposite is true as it so often has been.

    to get another poll on Brexit you need to overcome this obstacle.

  8. Sea Change,
    ” it is in the interests of France, Ireland, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and Sweden to have a deal as there is very significant trade with the UK.”

    Heres the problem, which surely you must be aware of. If there is no bespoke deal the default is WTO, which the Uk has accepted would be the case. But this favours the EU anyway.

    There is no getting away for the Uk from accepting EU terms over trade. The only option is whether we take part in running the EU, or just accept those terms formed by others.

  9. @Danny “The situation appears to be that the government has accepted the logic the Uk must remain, and the fudge is entirely on our side of spinning a way to do this without seeming to.”

    I disagree what was accepted by the EU was that it would be politically impossible for the current UK Government under T. May to continue with the negotiation impasse with the EU refusing to talk about trade. They got the money they wanted, they were happy with an ECJ transition on citizen rights (transitioning to no ECJ I would point out) and thus the Ireland fudge which was always impossible to solve without trade being talked.

  10. Norbold,
    “to get another poll on Brexit you need to overcome this obstacle.”

    Funnily enough, I dont entirely agree. Because while I am scathing about the structural inadequacies of Uk democracy, the system has worked because the politicians understand they need more support than just a formal mandate.

    The government shows every sign of seeking to engineer an escape from the result of the referendum, its just a matter of spinning this as best they can. What happened recently in that the EU pinned them down to firm commitments, strongly suggests what they plan to do when finally forced to commit.

  11. @Danny – No deal WTO

    It’s not that simple. Certainly, in some sectors, it would favour the EU but in others, it wouldn’t. Yes, it doesn’t help services, but then the single market is hardly perfect for that right now.

    However, a no deal scenario has other deleterious effects for the EU namely the possibility of loss of capital markets, security, intelligence, diplomatic co-operation, the 40 Billion. And for what? Intransigence? That’s why I think it is in the interests for a deal to be done by the EU.

  12. Sea Change,
    ” thus the Ireland fudge which was always impossible to solve without trade being talked.”

    Ah, you regard it as EU fudge that they mentioned trade at all at this stage of negotiations. I dont. I think the EU always understaood this argument that matters interrelate, but have inserted certain terms which must be agreed at the outset. We just agreed to those terms, thats all. We said we would solve the irish problem by staying in the EU trading group, essentially as now.

  13. Sea Change,
    “However, a no deal scenario has other deleterious effects for the EU namely the possibility of loss of capital markets, security, intelligence, diplomatic co-operation, the 40 Billion”

    Its inconceivable the Uk will not pay up at least a good chunk of what it owes. Thats non-negotiable for our continued world standing. The money isnt an issue, its just haggling over detail.

    As to everything else, the difference if we cease to be a member is that the EU is free to discriminate against the UK to favour members. This is what it is not allowed to do while we are a member. Are you seriously suggesting the UK will forbid its banks to trade with the EU? I doubt it even could. Trade will continue on EU dictated terms. That is what always happens in a trade agreement between weaker and stronger parties. The banks might be based here currently, but we have no hold over them at all.

  14. @Danny ” We said we would solve the irish problem by staying in the EU trading group, essentially as now.”

    No, we didn’t, we said that if we couldn’t find a solution there would be regulation convergence in the areas affecting the GFA. But if we can’t find a solution then there will be no trade deal anyway! And in any case, both the Commission and the UK government have said that the agreement has no force of law and that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”.

    It is a fudge. To get to the trade discussions.

  15. @Danny

    – No I don’t think the UK would stop EU companies raising capital but what could happen is that the cost of those funds rise and make capital more expensive which would entail market-loss to many EU companies. Also, the idea that decades of expertise and infrastructure can easily be moved en masse to the likes of Frankfurt is for the birds.

  16. OLDNAT

    @”they still need some form of creation myth, and subsequent tales of confirmation, to allow them to feel different to other groups.”

    I don’t think that is what Harari means at all.

    Certainly creation & other religious myths are important in facilitating the co-operation & mutual trust of large numbers of individuals who will never know each other. A Peruvian Catholic will trust & co-operate with a European Catholic he/she has never met before, purely on the basis of shared belief in a particular set of myths & shared knowledge of the appropriate rituals..There will be no need for one to one discussion to establish mutual trust.

    But the imagined realities Harari talks about don’t have to be religious .He has a wonderful section on the imagined reality of the Peugot Car company -the limited liability corporation myth embraced by Armand Peugot in 1896.
    Prior to this Mr Peugot operated in the objective reality of the personal relationship he had with every customer for his bicycles. If they broke down they sued him personally . He was liable without limit for failing to honour the mutual trust & co-operation implicit in his relationships with his customers.

    The limits of such a system are obvious. It is the imagined but shared reality of the corporate entity which now allows many thousands of people to co-operate in making , selling, buying, financing, repairing , Peugot Motor Cars. The appropriate ritual in the French legal code , decreed by its Parliament , and the ever present sacred symbol of the Peugot Lion are the myths which all of these people recognise & accept-whether they know each other or not.

    Harari chose Peugot because of its Lion , and because it started life just 300k from the Stadel Cave in which the ivory “lion Man” was found-one of the first examples of art & religion in the form of the imagined reality of a “lioness-woman”.

    The imagined reality of the myths & beliefs of the SNP is no different to those of any other group of people who embrace myths of one sort or another.

  17. The discussion of common myths reminds me of a conversation I once had many years ago about what should be on the Euro bank notes. The eventual choice of bridges was pretty clever, IMO, but in my particular pub conversation, the best we could come up with was the common European goal of winning the Ryder Cup. So we should have great European golfers on the bank notes – there are several good candidates across the continent. Who could object to Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo, Berhard Langer, Colin Montgomerie and Rory McIlroy rubbing shoulders in your wallet?

    By the way, it seems the majority of posters today are firmly on the Leave side of the fence. Perhaps leavers get up earlier in the morning?

  18. Just popped in to see what is the discussion. No surprise that it’s the same, ‘ oh yes it is, oh no it isn’t’ argument. Iwould however like to wish everyone a Happy New Year whatever your political affiliation, brexiteer or remainers. Hopefully 2018 will start to see some clarity on Brexit for us all.

    TOH
    I do echo your sentiments of your 8.02 post. Some of the projections are far too gloomy but then it’s always good when the actuals turn out better than projected as they seem to have a habit of doing, much to the annoyance of people like Heseltine, who is now saying that a Corbyn government would be preferable to Brexit. Always knew that he was barking mad and should have been certified in 1976(?) after his mace weilding stunt.

  19. Sea Change,
    “No, we didn’t, we said that if we couldn’t find a solution there would be regulation convergence in the areas affecting the GFA.”
    I’d guess the most likely way to achieve this is word for word copying of EU law. The areas affected are very broad, not just single market/customs union membership. And this is guaranteed for the whole of the UK.

    The point is the Uk has agreed that any final deal will conform to this as a minimum. We have promised there will be a deal, and this will be what it is. There is no fine detail, but there doesnt need to be because we just promised to comply with everything they throw at us. Far more than we are bound to do now.

    Your argument is the Uk will simply renege on what it has promised. But it isnt simply a bargaining position: That would be a funadamental show of bad faith and untrustworthiness in international agreements. Just how would that be seen by anyone else we might want to deal with?

    Reneging on what has been agreed so far would simply be to trash the Uk’s international reputation even further. The country has become a laughing stock.

  20. Robert Newark,
    “much to the annoyance of people like Heseltine, who is now saying that a Corbyn government would be preferable to Brexit.”

    haha, tribal loyalty breaking down then and being replaced by an acceptance that Corbyn is not so very different to many a tory. He and Heseltine might well have similar views. As might May.

  21. TRIGGUY
    I agree that the bridges on the Euro notes was an excellent idea which sends a good message. To avoid any accusations of favoritism, they are of course all Mythical bridges as none of them actually exist. :)

  22. @Danny

    The Commission has stated nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. That is how a negotiation works. That is how treaties are worked out. I contend that there is a high probability that there will be a comprehensive agreement and that a trade solution will be found for the N.I border (as well as the English-Continental borders) as too much money will be lost on both sides without one. Not to mention all the other issues.

    The UK has promised nothing in absolute terms and neither has the EU! The outline of phase 1 has been provisionally agreed by both parties. If negotiations with the EU break down over the future framework then the sensible thing to happen is any liabilities owed should be decided by a neutral third party. Something I am sure the EU would not want as the money is more politically owed rather than legally owed.

  23. @Danny
    “The government shows every sign of seeking to engineer an escape from the result of the referendum, its just a matter of spinning this as best they can.”

    I remember remarking at the start of all this nonsense that it was potentially a masterstroke by T May to appoint the 3 clowns to ‘run’ Brexit. There was an excellent chance that they would make a complete Horlicks of it, bury their own careers under a mountain of malted milk and leave Brexit at the bottom of that hill.

    This was always a high risk strategy and it’s not clear if it will succeed, but it is making gradual progress.

    @Norbold
    I think people are not quite as sceptical about polls as you suggest, though most will no doubt get their data via their chosen media curators. For as long as we have notionally balanced TV media, significant changes in opinion escape into the national consciousness eventually. Whether the polls will shift significantly in time to stop Brexit is anybody’s guess.

  24. Robert Newark: Heseltine, who is now saying that a Corbyn government would be preferable to Brexit. Always knew that he was barking mad and should have been certified in 1976(?) after his mace weilding stunt.

    It’s really interesting that a Leaver should feel that one of our periodic shifts between Con and Lab government would have more impact on the UK than Brexit would.

    I think this judgement of relative impacts goes to the heart of the disagreement. Remainers feel that anything resembling a hard Brexit will be an event of enormous import, fundamentally disrupting the UK economic structure and its ability to create wealth; and leaving us subject to the whims of the great power blocks. In other words, leaving us a much diminished country, both economically and in stature and influence.

    Leavers, on the other hand, appear to see it as a minor adjustment to our international arrangements, to which we will quickly adapt, and which will enable us to seize new opportunities with greater flexibility and adroitness. Not so much a cliff edge as a step change.

    This dichotomy of view is surely behind the anxiety with which remainers view the future and the insouciance of leavers, who prefer not to examine the economic entrails but to trust to events.

    I draw no conclusion from this, other than that it seems a good explanation for the differing positions we see expounded here.

  25. @Triguy

    “By the way, it seems the majority of posters today are firmly on the Leave side of the fence. Perhaps leavers get up earlier in the morning?”

    Probably so, given the age profile of the two sides.

  26. “It is in the EU’s interest to continue to use the City so there is likely to be some EU fudge on equivalence.”

    Just a minor point, but I don’t see it as valid to assume carte blanche that this is the case. It’s clear that the EU sees it as being in their interests not to disrupt their access to finance, much of which is currently via London, but that isn’t to say that it remains in their interests to protect access to the city in perpetuity. there is a short term advantage to this, but long term, all bets are off.

    It’s already abundantly clear that Paris and Frankfurt, and Dublin also, are seeking to gain ground on London following Brexit. This pressure will only continue. Much as leavers like @TOH believe Brexit is a great opportunity for the UK to seize, others in other countries think the same. While @Trevor Warne has made much of ‘reshoring’ economic activity to the UK, equally, the EU will be seeking to reshore as much of UK activity as they can.

    Much of this thinking amongst Brexiters seems to be based on an inward looking mindset. Assumptions are made based on what we can do, while it seems to be the assumption that the rest of the world stays the same. Again, @Trevor Warne has repeatedly claimed that economic models fail to account for UK governments adjusting to new circumstances, but he fails to balance this with EU and other governments also having the opportunity to adjust their policies to the disadvantage of the UK. Sauce for the goose, and all that.

    I have absolutely no doubt that Brexit wil be seen by EU capitals as an opportunity to break the monopoly of London as Europe’s premier financial hub. They will seek to enact policies and procedures that help in this, and this will have a long term impact on the city.

    In essence, any sensible EU leaders would support measures that repatriate the bulk of the finance trade required by the EU into the EU27 economic area if they possibly could – why wouldn’t they?

  27. Danny

    “Morning Howard, and a merry xmas if not too late. With reference to my last post, you seem to be a ‘heart’ man. I honestly do not see that logic is on your side of the argument re the economic benefits of membership. Economists might be wrong, but they clearly think its a mistake to leave the EU.”

    Yes I had an excellent Christmas thank you and I hope you had the same.

    It’s not just that I am a heart man, although I have no problem being called as such but I am also interested in the economics, and I don’t see the EU prospering in the long term, I see it collapsing unless it reforms in such a way as would be completely unacceptable to most of the UK population, IMO of course. A clean break is clearly needed as soon as possible.

    ROBERT NEWARK

    “I do echo your sentiments of your 8.02 post. Some of the projections are far too gloomy but then it’s always good when the actuals turn out better than projected as they seem to have a habit of doing,”

    The ink had hardly dried on the IMF report! :-)

  28. RJW

    I’m not sure when Attenborough was filming in the Jura, but if it was recently then I was probably in Spain at the time and am now staying with my elder son in blighty – my first UK visit since early 2016 – and now planning to return to the Jura next week when ferry costs return to winter norms. Thanks for the mention, though.

  29. DANNY & ROBERT NEWARK

    No more than a guess, but I’d have thought that Tarzan was simply reminding his Con colleagues that they can’t count on an HoC majority for a hard exit from the EU.

    If anyone has lost their marbles, I doubt it is he.

  30. @SOMERJOHN

    Yes I agree that Remainers are very upset about Brexit mainly because they think it will be economically bad, or very bad for the UK.

    But I think Brexiteers are also upset about the whole business because they think they’re not going to get a ‘real’ Brexit (whatever their own particular favourite flavour is), because it will be nobbled by the Remainer establishment.

    So in the end hardly anyone will be happy, which may have electoral implications for the party in power at the time. So the Tories may deliver a Brexit that no-one likes and Labour win a landslide at the following election.

    @ALEC

    Totally agree about the City of London. It’s obvious that the EU will continue using London while it suits them, and gradually snip bits of the industry off and move it to Paris/Dublin/Frankfurt. Why wouldn’t they?

  31. SOMERJOHN

    @”It’s really interesting that a Leaver should feel that one of our periodic shifts between Con and Lab government would have more impact on the UK than Brexit would.”

    If the shift you refer to was in the direction of the sort of Labour Party we have known in government since 1997-that would be a reasonable observation.

    But it wouldn’t be. It would be a shift to something we haven’t seen for 4 decades. The absolutely neccessary corollary to Brexit is an outward looking UK intent on being a part of Global Trade relationships, with a flexible open economy . (I make no comment here on the prospects for success on that score)

    Corbyn offers a move away from Globalism, Private Enterprise , , some would say from Capitalism itself ; towards a Protectionist, State directed & increasingly owned economic capacity.

    It is the specific combination of Brexit & a Corbyn Government which raises the risk already present in Brexit itself.

  32. @COLIN

    You could just as easily argue that a LAB government would deliver and/or implement a better Brexit because it would be more inclined than a Tory one to concentrate on workers rights, environmental standards and close trading links.

    While a Tory one would be more interested in sovereignty, immigration and keeping the EU at arms length.

    Also I’m interested that you seem to think that globalism is simply a good or inevitable thing. But many of the major political movements of the last 5 years are based on the view that governments should ameliorate the bad effects of globalism on their people.

  33. @Seachange

    You are confusing legal opinions with court judgements. In the Gina Miller case both the UK Government and the plaintiffs agreed to treat Article 50 as irrevocable in seeking a judgement from the Courts, but that doesn’t mean that Article 50 is irrevocable, as only the ECJ can authoritatively rule on it.

    The same applies here. It doesn’t matter how many EU and UK officials have stated that you cannot be in the EEA without being in either the EU or EFTA, it still has to be decided by an authoritative body under Article 111. This would include the interpretation of Article 126(1).

    One point of difficulty with the EEA agreement is that it was agreed at a time (i.e. before the EU Lisbon treaty) when there was no mechanism for any country to leave the EU and it was not amended as a result of the Lisbon treaty. Hence it is not clear how Article 126(1) should be interpreted. You choose to interpret it in a particular way which suits your position; I merely point out that it can only be decided by the authoritative body (the EEA Joint Committee, who may seek a ruling from the ECJ).

    Of course, the UK Government could regularise its position by giving notice under Article 127, but I would argue that is properly for Parliament to decide, as with the giving of the Article 50 Notice.

  34. @seachange

    “No that’s not the case. He has specifically ruled out a deal on financial services in a trade deal and is saying it is Canda or Norway – off the shelf. Basically, he is saying there can be no bespoke deal.’

    No thats not the case. All comprehensive trade agreements are by definition “bespoke”.. Barnier’s view is that the UK Government’s red line on the Single Market means that UK financial services will lose their passporting and cannot come within the ambit of a comprehensive trade agreement ( and he also points to that there are no examples of trade agreements covering financial services).

    Brexiters seem conflicted on financial services judging from their comments on here which seem to fall within the following categories:

    a. they need us more than we need them so the EU will strike a deal otherwise it will be disastrous for their economies.

    b. pasporting isn’t that important, it will be easy to circumvent it by various arrangements.

    c. financial services are just a load of bankers so who cares anyway, the economy needs to be rebalanced and the shock of Brexit will be good.

    Presumably the choice of argument depends on the mood of the day and the understanding of the issues.

    “If Brexit is a return to the same kind of control over our laws like some 170 odd of the world’s countries is “extreme” then I am guilty as charged. However, I rather wonder who is the ideological extremist!”

    As you have evidenced in your reply you are an ideological Brexiter in the same mould as @toh. The determining issue for you is complete sovereignty and you are indifferent to any other arguments such as effective influence, economic impacts and so on. So yes your views are ideological ( nothing wrong with that) and at the extreme end of the spectrum of Brexit opinion.

  35. TOBY EBERT

    @”You could just as easily argue that a LAB government would deliver and/or implement a better Brexit because it would be more inclined than a Tory one to concentrate on workers rights, environmental standards and close trading links.
    While a Tory one would be more interested in sovereignty, immigration and keeping the EU at arms length.”

    Yes. I could.

    But I don’t.

  36. COLIN
    “Corbyn offers a move away from Globalism, Private Enterprise , , some would say from Capitalism itself ; towards a Protectionist, State directed & increasingly owned economic capacity.”

    At a stroke you illuminate two key issues discussed by ON and @Somerjohn: the nature of the necessaary myth pof a post-Brrexit Uk,, and the infrastructural and European vision of the Lion King – Tarzan not Peugeot – shared with that other and more imminent king of infrastructure, the Lord Adonis.
    I know which a real life Peugeot, in the UK’s case Aston Martin and Honda, judging by the 14 Nov hearing of the Brexit and Car Industry Committee hearing, would prefer – that of a Labour Government of a UK still in the Single Market and the Customs Union.
    Levi-Strausse (@Laszlo may correct me) likened the process of myth making to make do and mend,” bricolage” – in which you take the existing old table and piece of chicken wire and the tea chest the china came in last year, to make your rabbit hut. In the case of a post Brexit Labour industrial and infrastructure project, as Adonis now chooses in his particular mythology (or version of the Manifesto) – HS2 and the housing programme in the Milton Keynes – Oxford – Cambridge corridor will be added to the old money chest of the McDonnel Investment Bank and the Migrant Fund.
    It’s essential to the effectiveness of the myth that much of the myth is tangible reality, including the underlying expectation in Adonis’s projection, and at the back of Hezeltine’s perennial thinking, of remaining in or returning to the EU.

  37. Today`s news merely adds to my sense of gloom.

    What with an Honours List rewarding Tory Brexiteer leaders, and Margaret Thatcher pressing John Major, newly PM, into continuing her disastrous poll tax.

    But worse is the government deciding who can attend Prince Harry`s wedding. The Obamas would be natural guests, but then Donald Trump could feel offended. So it seems this is a decision for the PM.

    And she will have to take soundings from Brexit allies. I reckon this doesn`t show that many of them actually want Trump to attend the wedding, but that they are totally scared of offending him in case this jeopardises a trade deal.

    Being supplicant to foreign countries is what Brexit was supposed to stop. But I think many Brexiteers don`t mind supplication if it involves the UK imbibing far-right policies.

    And they would be happy with trade deals that discard EU safeguards. Some could make more money that way.

  38. DAYWEL
    There you go – that’s Tohland for you.

  39. @Colin

    The horror and anxiety with which some (often brexiters, it seems) view the prospect of a Corbyn government looks like a mirror image of the equal apprehension of remainers towards brexit. Even the proportions are about the same: strip current VI down to a binary choice and it’s something like 52:48 to Labour. The 52% presumably view a Labour government with as much eager anticipation, or at least equanimity, as brexit voters view our new life outside the big tent. While the 48% – people like Colin – can see only disaster.

    No doubt the Corbophobes find it hard to fathom why the bare majority who support him can’t see the looming disaster. Now you know how remainers feel!

    Personally, the prospect of a Corbyn-led government inspires neither eager anticipation nor dread in me. I expect just a different variety of bungling. My only preference is that I’d rather the Tories hang around long enough for the consequences of brexit to become clear, as otherwise the cry will be, “Brexit has only been a disaster because of these half-baked wannabe socialist fools.”

  40. @Seachange Many thanks for your detailed reply to my question. This seems to me to boil down to the belief that it will not be too bad, although there will be costs, the loss of some business and a great deal of trouble in avoiding a very bad outcome for us and a moderately bad outcome for the EU. In the end, things will be settled by a fudge and as you also want a clear cut result this may well displease all sides. In earlier days you felt to me more optimistic than that.

    Personally I find your judgement reasonably convincing but not reassuring. It’s clear that Brexit carries sizeable risks. It is not clear to me important thing it will enable us to do that we couldn’t do anyway. At the moment we can go to war, elect right wing or left wing governments and presumably be as efficient as the Germans as socialist as the Scandinavians or as fascist and inefficient as others we don’t need to mention. I would far rather that we got on with these vital issues without the distraction and endless arguments associated with managing a slow national decline,

  41. @ToH

    One aspect of your position that I have never fully understood is your belief that a collapse of the EU will be to our advantage.

    I accept that you don’t want to be part of the thing but historically troubles on the continent have been troubles for us (Hence our involvement in two world wars). Why on earth should the economic collapse of what is currently our major trading partner be other than a major blow to us as well?

  42. John Pilgrim

    I have to admit that I got through only about two thirds of the first volume the Mythology – this is how much I could cope with neoplatonism when written after WW2.

    Myths are important, and act as a social function, but they are extremely closely tied to the practical-sensual activities of the community (by 5th century BCE nobody in Athens believed in the myths of the Olympian gods – Athene’s Temple was built as a tourist attraction, yet by the second century CE these myths came back with vengeance – yet Paul was laughed off from his pulpit when he tried to convince the Greeks of resurrection).

    As to Corbyn and Co – they aren’t very good in myths creation, partly because of the fragmentation of their social base if that ESRC study can be trusted. They could have used the myth of the Tower of Babel, but then it would have required the recognition of the causes of the fragmentation. So, they settled with the washing of the feet with some addition in their social myths. In their economic myths Sisyphus comes to mind, but it is really Defoe’s Robinson played by the state – and everyone else are Friday.

  43. JOHN PILGRIM.

    You have your myths . I have my myths.

    I believe a Corbyn lead Government, in which McDonnel’s policies will prevail economically will have the effect I mentioned.

    I understand what you believe John. This is what I believe.

    That’s politics.

  44. LASZLO
    Thanks. The two optional mythologies which do perhaps both have their own realities in respect of Brexit and do influence how we organise and make choirces include:-
    Remain: we are part of a European mainly democratic, multi-national Graeco-Roman civilisation within which the rule of law, universal human rights, freedom of movement and access to work, modern and largely socialised education, health and care are accessible to all;
    Leave: We are all that, and can buy it or negotiate for it if we want it. We are also a sovereign nation which can stop outsiders coming in and accessing our services and taking our jobs, and can choose to trade with and base economic development on high quality production and favourable trade with any part of the World we want to on our own terms (well,,on the terms of the WTO and the US economic interest.)
    The problem with the Remain myth, I suspect, is that being part of that Graeco-Roman democratic, rule governed system and its access to all the wealth of Western jobs, art and civilisation depends at least partly on your social status and education. (It’s Ivan Illych land.)

  45. someone raised the question of the Polish Judiciary and the EU’s difficulty: the short answer is that the rule of law requires an independent judiciary to interpret the law.

    I would recommend reading the following

    http://www.idlo.int/news/highlights/checks-and-balances-independence-judiciary-and-parliaments

    and

    https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2017/08/poland-independence-of-the-judiciary-and-the-right-to-fair-trial-at-risk/

    What happens when the judiciary lose independence can be seen in any dictatorship around the world. What Poland (and by the way Romania) wish to do is to bring the judiciary under the sway of politicians: the rule of law then becomes the rule of what that particular politician wants and people become things and politicians will stretch the boundaries.

    Remember Lord Acton’s aphorism:
    Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

  46. SOMERJOHN

    @” Now you know how remainers feel!”

    Why do you say “now” ?

    I have always known how they feel.

    My own ambivalence about the EU required me to try and understand what it is that Europhiles believe , in order to better understand what I really think about UK membership of the EU.

    If we make no attempt to understand what others believe , then disagreement has no intellectual basis at all.

  47. COLIN
    “You have your myths, I have my myths” I hope, going into the New Year, that both our myths may prosper.

  48. JOHN PILGRIM

    I hope so too.

    It would be nice to imagine that they could merge into one when the dust has settled.

  49. WB

    Romania is a wrong example. The state prosecutor’s office is essentially under the control of the EU (well, Germany really), and operating accordingly (when they intervene and when they don’t). It is very effective, and it is much better there now.

    You may have thought of Bulgaria – a more appropriate comparison.

    Anyway, the second stage of the procedure against Poland requires unanimous voting by the member states, and Hungary already said that it would veto it (I don’t think they could be bribed on this – anyway, Orbán is loved by most conservatives of Western Europe, just they cannot say it), and I’m quite sure that Austria, and unless Merkel acts, Slovakia would also vote against it.

    So, the whole thing won’t happen.

  50. WB

    Also, there hasn’t been an independent judiciary in Hungary since 2011, and it hasn’t bothered the EU. There was even an ECJ decision against the Hungarian government on this, and the Commission decided not to act on it.

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