There are two polls on holding a second referendum in today’s papers.

YouGov in the Times found 36% of people in favour of a second referendum once Brexit negotiations are complete, 43% of people were opposed, 21% said don’t know. This is slightly up on last year – YouGov found 33% support in December and 32% in October. Full tabs are here.

The other poll was by ComRes in the Mirror. 43% of people said they would like a second referendum, 51% would not, 6% said don’t know. The don’t knows are lower, but the proportions of support and opposition to a second referendum are similar.

ComRes also asked how people would vote in a second referendum – excluding don’t knows, 55% of people said REMAIN, 45% LEAVE. The Mirror made a big fuss about this, but it requires some caution. The ComRes tables are here and suggest the data was only weighted by age, gender and region – as opposed to most polls, which are also weighted to ensure they are representative by things like past vote, 2016 referendum vote, education, class and so on. Now, there is a place for flash polls like this in getting a quick gauge of the public’s opinion on a breaking news story, but whether they are suitable for something as delicate as voting intention is a different question.

When it comes to voting intention – whether it be for an election or a referendum – the last few elections have taught us that getting the sample right and getting turnout right are crucial. For Brexit, that means ensuring the sample is right on things that like education, social class (where the ComRes poll appears to be 70% ABC1!) – and ensuring the sample has the right sort of balance of people who voted Remain and Leave last time. I would apply some caution towards any poll that did not.

I did a longer piece looking at polling on support for Brexit last month, here. Typically polls asking about how people would vote in a second referendum (which BMG and Survation ask regularly, Opinium and YouGov on occassion) have shown smaller Remain leads of between 1 and 4 points.

125 Responses to “Polling on a second referendum”

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  1. First

  2. Good afternoon all from Central London.

    The polls can huff and puff over whether peeps want a second referendum on Brexit but at the end of the day it comes down to participation in the referendum and legitimacy.

    As long as the majority of the country actually votes in the referendum then that would be good for democracy.

    Personally I still think a majority would still vote to bolt.

  3. Polling on a second referendum is pretty meaningless until it is known whether the UK can unilaterally revoke the tabling of Article 50 or not,

    Even if the Court of Session and the ECJ expedite proceedings, it seems unlikely that the ECJ ruling will be made until the second half of 2018.

    If revocation can only be done by agreement with the other 27 states then “Remain” is not a decision that the UK (and its electorate) can make on its own.

  4. 2 different questions Coms Res on membership or not and YG on accepting the terms or not.

    We might have expected more of a difference but as per AW the proportions are similar, may in part explain the DK differential.

    Conclusion no clammer for a second ref of any sort in E&W, Scotland may be be different due to SNP advocacy.

  5. TREVOR WARNE @ BZ fpt

    I’m afraid your posts have become increasingly cryptic to the extent that I no longer try to understand them.

    In particular, I have no idea what you mean by Norway- when it is clear that the RoI will veto the deal unless it is Norway plus Customs Union until and unless the UK develop and implement the new technology which the DExEU advocate and prove that it all works. What is less clear is the reversibility of A50, but at least the Court of Session have taken on the task of asking the ECJ.

    If the answer from the ECJ is that A50 can be withdrawn then two options become possible and a 2nd EU referendum on the two options would be viable.

    If A50 is not reversible then it is hard to see anything but Norway plus CU being on offer. In that circumstance I do not foresee Westminster approving anything else.


    The reasons for all the pluses and minuses is that without them the deal does not look that good.

    So we cannot have Norway or Canada because otherwise it is not bespoke and we are not special. The whole point of the idea of a deal with the EU is that we are more important than everyone else. This has to be a pattern of the deals we do or else the point is why go through all the pain. Some of this is in fact real. So for example there are not many FTA which have services in the terms and indeed the terms themselves will have to rather complex. So it would be important to get that right, Which is why it is never done. For example even in the EU you have to send the patents to individual countries to be approved and indeed deifferent countries have given different verdict on the same patent (Apple versus Samsung as and example)

    I believe that we would have to share sovereignty to have harmony of things like that.

    But I digress. Simply put without us getting something special. it would reduce the chance of anyone else giving us something special and as you’ll agree from the WTO negotiations on quotas, trade is a full contact sport.


    In reading your last comment about making sure we know what we are voting for: it reminded me of the GE2015. labour says Tories are coming for Tax Credit, Tories say how could we we are only after scrounger, Tories get elected come after your tax credit, Tory voters found to be scrounger, Tory voters object to being scroungers, Tories reluctantly change their minds.

    Simply put most people have no idea what they are voting for and often vote against the policies they want. It is not labour or Tory problem it is a electorate problem.

    Most people here claim with certianty they knew what they voting for. What is clear in a world that is dynamic as it has ever been we are at best voting for what we are hoping for and at worst have not clue of what we get even when we get what we want.


  8. Alec & Somerjohn

    I am happy to agree that you both live in a parallel universe, not mine. We have been around that tired old argument so many times.

    Old Nat

    “If revocation can only be done by agreement with the other 27 states then “Remain” is not a decision that the UK (and its electorate) can make on its own.”

    Nice to find something from a Remainer that is relevant to this rather silly conversation about a second referendum that the public don’t want.

    Allan Christie

    “Personally, I still think a majority would still vote to bolt.”

    I happen to agree with you but that would not make a second referendum acceptable or democratic.

  9. I’ve always thought a 2nd Ref on Terms before 31st March 2019 just isn’t feasible timewise and for the following reasons:

    1) We wouldn’t know what we were voting for?
    2) If we rejected some vague framework terms what then?
    3) Even those that espouse a 2nd question after rejection of the terms of Leave or Remain again have no idea what either would entail.
    4) The Tory Party would split and the membership would go nuts.
    5) Corbyn doesn’t want one either.

    Seems HIGHLY unlikely.

    There’s more possibility during a transition for one, though I think we’d need a change of Government first.

  10. posted on earlier thread but was put in moderation

    @ Somerjohn @ Danny: It seems leave are trying to revive it because they foresee parliament overturning the first one unilaterally. Wonderful how positions reverse!

    Its not surprising to me: each side believes that the best future for UK is the one they espouse, despite protestations about “democratic will” and “principled positions” both sides will use any tactic to achieve their aim, call me cynical but that’s how politics works. The reason for the [email protected] label and the settled will of the people is Leavers trying to silence opposition, similarly references to the poor economic outcomes, democracy being fluid and the public being allowed to change their mind are vehicles by which Remainers try to achieve their objectives.
    Personally, I wish those in favour of remain would stop using economic arguments as the means of attacking the Leave project. Economics, British opt outs, British ministers intransigence in dealing with our neighbours has been the narrative of the past forty years, continuing an “us v them” mentality. It has been the way in which, over forty years, the narrative has played into Leavers hands. Instead I wish the narrative was about the high ideals of a European Project which espouses human rights, equality, the rule of law and other democratic values as being the reasons for embracing European Union.
    I have concluded that the doldrums in the polls, insofar as it is connected to Brexit, is because no side “loves” the EU and therefore although they are remainers a large group of voters are critical remainers and are prepared to accept Labour’s ambiguity on Brexit over the Conservatives apparent lack of ambiguity because they see this as a purely economic argument as to what Brexit is least damaging. This is in contrast to my own view which is that the UK is abandoning one of humanity’s greatest attempts at creating a large, economically secure but more importantly democratic and kindly state.
    I have said before as I have aged I have come to feel that political choices are more a matter of aesthetics rather than rational choices, I believe that the “aesthetics” of the European Union have been distorted in the public imagination because of the narrow “rational” arguments that have been presented by both sides

  11. For the government, the sentiment of the voters, whether they turn out to vote or not, is important, as the voters who were inclined to remain will blame the government for any problems, even though they didn’t vote.
    Personally I think that the government has big problems, as a large number of those who voted leave will also forget that, or make the excuse that they were lied to when everything goes sour. Only around 20% are leave fanatics who will put up with anything at all to leave.
    Even if Brexit turns out to have been a success, it won’t be for a decade or so. Meanwhile, the current government is going to take some bad flack.


    Thanks for that, which makes some sense, at least in a world where Davis is our representative with an idée fixe of Blighty’s superiority.

    Loved your usage of but I digress, btw. Are you a fan of Tom Lehrer’s usage of the term, here and here?

  13. WB

    @” I believe that the “aesthetics” of the European Union have been distorted in the public imagination because of the narrow “rational” arguments that have been presented by both sides”

    Which “public”?

    I think you discount, far too lightly, the probability that citizens of UK believe that their own country ” espouses human rights, equality, the rule of law and other democratic values”.

    And as for “aesthetics”-most ordinary voters have far too much on their plates just getting by in life to spend time thinking about the “aesthetics” of The European Political & Economic Union.

  14. Brexit deal

    We have a canadian deal in the bag! Are posters saying that we cannot improve upon it by negotiation such as the immediate eradication of tariffs. We could join their independent adjudication scheme and remove ourselves from the eCJ . Very nice of Barnier to offer this which is far better than Norway
    Of course no financial services but there may be a change of attitude on our part to this. Trump is making the US far more competitive. If london is to prosper as the world centre it will need to compete with the uSA on cost and regulation. They may see this as a greater threat than the loss of passporting to the EU. Freedom to compete on the world market may be more important .I would not be surprised to see the city begging the government not to agree to EU regulatory input or control. How the worm turns.

  15. BZ

    “at least the Court of Session have taken on the task of asking the ECJ.”

    I don’t think we are quite at stage yet. The Court of Session has accepted the case made by the petitioners for an initial hearing, and the UK Government had 14 days in which to respond.

    AFAIK, the initial hearing has not yet taken place, and I have heard nothing of a UK Gov response – given their failure to keep their promises on amending 11 of the Brexit Bill, a failure to respond timeously would not surprise.

    Assuming that UK Gov responds by saying that EU law is quite clear and no referral to ECJ is required, then legal arguments will have to be heard in court.

  16. Colin: @WB …. I think you discount, far too lightly, the probability that citizens of UK believe that their own country ” espouses human rights, equality, the rule of law and other democratic values”.

    I doubt this in the terms in which you express it. Over the last half decade I have had too many encounters with ‘ordinary’ people who say “let’s get rid of human rights” and who advocate banging people up on the sayso of the police and all kinds of illiberal measures which indicate that they don’t espouse human rights, equality, the rule of law or many democratic values at all. A section of UK society is I fear ripe to accept fascism.

  17. Correction – CLAUSE 11 of the Brexit Bill

  18. @WB

    The argument regarding what the thrust of the campaign should be is an interesting one. the ideals of rule of law and the idea of equality and etc” will come under the terms of take back control. indeed the idea that some foreigner knows as much or more the the mother of parliaments and the magna carta show how much people misjudged the argument that leave was espousing.

    The argument was twofold. why are foreigners are telling us what to do can’t we do it better ourselves, it was simply stated in the “take back control”.

    I would state that having common laws is actually the key to free trade in services as I have used in the patent example it is clear that you need common laws and a common court to not have judgement that are essentially based on national prejudice. The point of Leave, however, was that it we want to do it ourselves because we can and we believe can do it better and the idea of sharing it with others does not help the remain argument at all.

    There is no real argument to that other than well if you fall and hurt yourself do come crying to me. hence the argument becomes difficult. This is why Leave does not need to state what the end state is because we have take control of it. it means that they can dictate it. You lost and we won that is how democracy works. it is brutally simple and brutally effective. if remain won Leave would continue to argue quite rightly that we are not in control we share control and simply put that is true.

    My friend put it best some people can live in a comune where everything is shared some people their own castle., telling someone whom wants his own castle that is a good thing to share will not please them it is not what they aspire to. That is why I believe the issue is toxic. it does not matter how you attack it.

    What worries me about remainers is that we can we can persuade people to change their nature. What we find is that views just die out. The OTHER HOWARD and myself have fundamentally different views on brexit. His view is simple he wants told control as far as he can have it WTO is fine for him. No matter what we think the only proof he would accept is Brexit happening and going wrong. which is why I equate brexit with Iraq. no one could prove that invading Iraq was going to be a disaster there was plenty of evidence it was going to be a disaster but no proof. No certainty simply put no matter how you sell the EU it is essentially ceding some control for whatis perceived to be the greater good . Yes it is something we do as society yet the fixation of leave is a certain set of borders that define where that limit is . So while you could point to Lancashire County Council being overruled by an MP from Wocestershire in terms of the allowance of fracking that is fine. because simply put a plurality of people residing is certain borders decided it, but Brussels deciding something within this border for them is an anathema. So you either believe that border is important or not you can share in a big commune or a little commune or you really just want your own castle.

    I am a remainer, I do the commune thing I do it large as it needs to be where it needs to be the EU does not decided where fracking goes Secretary of state for Business did for Lanacachire Council and they were unhappy. The interesting thing is lanacashire county council choice could be seen in a national context as bad decision and was rightly overturned or a bad decision for locals to have control over their affairs. Like all cases it is interesting


    @”A section of UK society is I fear ripe to accept fascism.”

    A section of it is , I fear, ripe to accept an Authoritarian Bennite Command Economy & Society.

    But that doesn’t make me lose faith in the democratic beliefs of the vast majority of the UK Electorate.

    When I am told that ” human rights, equality, the rule of law and other democratic values”.” can only be found now in membership of the European Union, I think of those UK citizens who gave their lives in defence of those values when “Europe” was under the boot of fas*ism.

    And when I look at the tables from recent OPs , and I see the extremes of opposing opinion being reflected most in the Age Demographics , I am not at all surprised.

  20. I tend to agree with the posts by WB and Passtherockplease.

    The highly committed leavers and remainers seem both to base their views on basic beliefs or values. As such there is little probability of many of them changing their minds.

    There are probably many pragmatists in the middle who hope for greater prosperity. The trouble is that in 10 or 20 years time it will be almost impossible to link decisions taken now with the presence or absence of economic well-being.

    Apart from anything else, over time wouldn’t we expect change(s) of government, possibly wars and other events?

  21. @ALISTER1948

    “There are probably many pragmatists in the middle who hope for greater prosperity. The trouble is that in 10 or 20 years time it will be almost impossible to link decisions taken now with the presence or absence of economic well-being”

    I would tend to disagree with the idea we would not see the genesis of problems we have in the future. For example, the Iraq war show a clear genesis to the problems we had with ISIS and our continuing problems with islamic fundamentalist terrorists. Another one I would point to is our sale of council houses and the lack of a plan to replace them for political reasons was the start of our insane house price and house shortage problems.

    What I think we chose to do is just say Sh1t happens and take our shatter lives and move on. it also means that the political class never get punished for the mistakes because we, the electorate were part of the decision making process.

    I alway use Iraq as a template for when we as a society make a mistake. we seem to have an uncanny knack of forgetting the decisions we made.

  22. (Ir)revokability of Brexit

    EP have an inconclusive report linked within this good summary of the inconclusive previous info.

    Jury is out as such but if the jury came into play then it would be the ECJ! Not a path I’d want to walk down!

    @ BZ – Some folks have taken to calling EEA+CU a Norway- deal given the inclusion of CU is more restrictive than regular Norway. This seems to be the policy that Starmer is drifting towards. Others, including myself, have also previously referred to it as ‘colony’ status (regulation and taxation (payments) without representation)

    @ S THOMAS – we have nothing “in the bag” and Canada deal is vague as it is bespoke, highly tailored to the specific needs of Canada-EU and both sides are coming at it from a position of regulatory difference. IMHO the likes of Barnier mention Canada specifically with a view to the 7yrs it took to agree. Put yourself in Barnier (or Macron or Merkel’s) position and consider what you’d be aiming for?
    Try to bank the divorce bill but stall on future arrangements until after Mar’19 then use NI to enforce full regulatory alignment and full CU (ie make transition arrangements permanent).
    We’ve played most of our cards badly but the one tease we have left is EU27 contributor nations want us to pay the bill and keep paying – that card disappears if DD is forced to codify phase1 before we know the future deal and at that point we’re sleep walking to colony status.

    Your complacency concerns me.

  23. Trevor Warne

    “Jury is out as such but if the jury came into play then it would be the ECJ! Not a path I’d want to walk down!”

    Since the first steps have, at last, been taken on that path, you may have little choice in the matter!

  24. @Colin
    Agreed. Especially your last paragraph.
    I guess that everyone at some time or other is a member of some form of lunatic fringe, but when it comes down to it, most people are small c conservatives in that they don’t want drastic changes with unforeseeable consequences.
    That is why there was a small majority for ‘Leave’ –
    1. a good number of people (I guess nowhere near a majority) wanting to return to a past established pattern they liked
    2. another large group not liking what they see as the way the EU has recently been going towards becoming a large state in which individual voices have less and less chance of being listened to. This group will have their opinions hardened by EU actions and proposals since the UK referendum.

  25. OLDNAT

    Thanks for the info re the Court of Session. I made the schoolboy mistake of believing an article in the Herald. Must do better in my research.


    i think any minimum deal will already include payments of some kin we want to be involved with a number of EU initiatives which require payment into so even if we drop out on WTO terms I suspect we will be paying the EU something and hence May did not say pay nothing her speech was nuanced enough to give her enough wiggle room for you doomsday scenario.

    As I said the real problem is that we are not sure what we want. or omre importantly what we think we can get away with politically and economically. Your reading of the report of London was that it would be grate for London if we leave.using scenario 5 is interesting I am presuming it would not be great for everyone else,if that is the case are we not exaserbating the very issues the article Not My GDP mate article seemed to suggest created such disquiet.

    My view has always been that argument about rmain and Leave is really an argument of where would you want o invest Stoke or Bristol. The answer is obvious because people are doing it. No how do you make people want to invest and work in Stoke canada plus, norway minus does not change that dynamic. Indeed our push for services actually easerbates it.

    It would ironic that leave voters in the North voted for London to get richer and them not to really share in the spoils

  27. DAVE


    As an example of the myopia we can all be subject to-and which has characterised Brexit discussions here,- I tried using TO’s own word structure with a different slant-my slant :-)

    “Over the last three years I have read too many accounts of ‘ordinary’ people who say “let’s get rid of representative Parliamentary Democracy” and who advocate mandating MPs as spokespersons on the sayso of Party Members, and all kinds of illiberal measures which indicate that they don’t espouse human rights, equality, the rule of law or many democratic values at all. A section of UK society is I fear ripe to accept a Centrally Controlled Society & Economy of the Authoritarian Left.”


    I would think that the EU would be interested in whether the A50 is irrevocable.. I think they are pushing it to the UK because I believe they want it be seen as an independent decision of the UK and it’s government rather than any meddling in the democratic decision.

    lastly one think I have noticed it seems that everyone that has seen barnier seems to come back with a different tack. Farage’s comments have been rather interesting

    Oh an on another topic. Downing street has endorsed BoJo rant at Khan and Corbyn.

    I suppose it has to be to protect trade interests but it was obvious that having attacked Khan directly on numerous occasions and misrepresented the UK in tweets that people would be upsetting some people.


    Jury is out as such but if the jury came into play then it would be the ECJ

    Re A50, who else could decide? That’s why the Court of Session have been asked to obtain an ECJ ruling.

    Some folks have taken to calling EEA+CU a Norway- deal given the inclusion of CU is more restrictive than regular Norway

    What else could the EU offer given HMG’s promise and the RoI’s ability to veto, at least until the DExEU develop and implement their magic border? Or do you have an alternative mechanism ready to implement?

  30. BZ

    This is, I think, the current status of the Article 50 case – UK has another 12 days to respond.

    You will note the terms of the Advocate General’s initial response – which is wholly irrelevant to the case!

  31. @Passtherockplease “I would tend to disagree with the idea we would not see the genesis of problems we have in the future…I alway use Iraq as a template for when we as a society make a mistake. we seem to have an uncanny knack of forgetting the decisions we made.”

    Yes, very interesting. (I was against the Iraq war then by the way, and still think it was wrong.) The point is that people have started to forget how they felt at the time.

    As for the house prices, if I remember those days correctly, house prices rose very quickly between about 1971-3, putting housing out of my reach at the time. This was well before the Thatcher government.

    But you are certainly right that there are some long-term problems that have been unsolved. Many people I know include lack of productivity and investment, and a lack of technical education as key ones, and I would add growing inequality, but I am sure there are many more.

    These are all large subjects, but if there are any replies I wil read them tomorrow.

  32. @ BZ – I’ll fully accept May+DD are being hopeless n4ive. They agree to the clause about “full alignment” then start pretending we can “manage divergence”. UK think the phase1 document was a “fudge” and non-commital where as EU want to codify the agreement before moving on.
    This difference in opinion has a sell by date – it should Mar’18 for UK but EU will probably be happy to drag it longer right out to Mar’19 perhaps? May+DD should have passed this point in Oct. The one major change in Brexit polling is in those who think negotiations are going badly – with even Leave net thinking negotiations are going badly (+7 in last YouGov)!

    @ ON / BZ – Thank you for the info on revoke, its hard to keep up with all the legal challenges at every step – Brexit is quite the money earner for lawyers!

    If we can get a definitive answer on revoke in parallel to the talks then great. At least we’ll know if that is viable or not – an important precondition to any kind of ref that has “Remain” as an option. The key is absolute definite answer and the EP article suggests that a hypothetical question would get a hypothetical answer. Given the range of opinion on the matter and the oppo for say Walloons to object and appeal I think it is very risky. If EU have us in a Norway- outcome with May+DD signing a blank cheque on the divorce bill and ongoing payments we’d be putting huge faith on being able to back out of that via an ECJ ruling on the actual event. What is hypothetical today changes with the passage of time, especially if May+DD sign anything new.

    I suspect that by asking if we can revoke we are hardening the EU’s stance and reducing our chances of getting a good deal but since I see those chances at near zero anyway I’m not that bothered. The key for me is to get the terms of the deal asap and EU are not going to play ball there – we have to make the offer and force the timing (IMHO)

  33. @ALISTER1948

    It is interest you talk of the house prices rising in the 70s. You know that the was the barber boom. Ok I am a child of the 60s born the day England won the world cup so google is my friend.

    But house price rose because of the availability of credit. Barber allowed banks to compete with Building Societies and hence house prices rose with the increased availability of credit. rather like the problems we saw during the big bang and the like. boom and bust years loadsamoney

    So actually barberism as a the precursor to the Thatcherism since what she did was barberism on steroids. I would have to thank you for drawing my attention to it. It is a well known fact that asset bubbles are created by the availability of cheap debt. Deregulation tends to reduce the restriction on access to cheap debt and to my mind the cause of many of our problems to the point we are so used to debt that it is actually disconnected with generating wealth to pay it back. Indeed Thatcher did multiple crazy thing she basically gave away assets (houses industries, via privatisation) and those assets exploded in value and the same time loosened the reigns of credit and hug asset inflation beyon that not building and replacign asset sold off in this manner created a feeding frenzy and the boom and bust we see now. it meant that productivity was not as important it mant that asset inflation was more important that wage inflation and therefore investing in people became not the done thing our ability to finance our lifestyles with debt and and asset inflation brough us to where we are today. (although thing like the Oil shock did not help..

    I normally use myself as an example I graduated in 1989 My first salary was £10K my student debt was £1K a one bed starter home in the centre of southampton (not far from Philips Semiconductors was 4oK.

    fast forward to today average starting salary for a graduate well even for a blue chip company it is 30K but the median salary is 25K, a graduate today would have debts of possibly 30-50K and house would cost at least £150K for something further out of town. I know when I would have wanted to graduate from a financial perspective

    Much of the increase in house prices and student loans have been because of the availability of debt it allows for house prices to rise. it is why when interest rates rise house prices collapse because it chokes of the availability of debt. The interesting thing is that it was fiscal conservatives that made personal debt fashionable and that to me is weird.

  34. M Barnier’s talk from a few days ago is here –

    M Barnier is steady and consistent on Brexit.

  35. “OK, so in the event that Parliament decided to revoke A50”

    If it is revocable, for which we must ultimately get to the CJEU, then the clear logic of the Miller case is that revocation is a prerogative act just as notice was. Parliament does not “decide”.

    Again by the logic of the Miller case it may need to give consent once the Withdrawal Bill has passed into law although it would not need to if it hasn’t. But it doesn’t decide.

    This may yet prove an important point.


    What should we offer the EU? You may have said what you would before but to my mind the game of bluff was being played all the way to christmas. i remember briefings of May engineering a walk out in September and that a No Dael was likely in august if we did not get our way. What changed?
    lastly do you agree that everyone that meets with barnier seems to leave with them on a different trajectory. Corbyn/Starmer, Blair and now Farage. I am wondering what he is say to them.

    i still think the UK is negotiating with itself. I eels like we are trying to find a way to say we have left without leaving. it is almost as if we need a deal that looks special to make us feel good about our decision to leave. What is interestign is we are seem to have coalesced around no deal may be the worst deal of all in think it seems can’t admit that to ourselves.

    As I think I have said I have come to the conclusion that some of this is about us wanting to be special, to be treated like we are special. and what would be uncomfortable is if we are treated as if we are not special. brexit to me is more psychological than real. I believe we could sell the same deal in two different ways and feel good in one way and terible in the other. I think in the end the detail matters not.

    How weird?
    Your thoughts.?

  37. @ PTRP – Khan’s report showed tiny differences for the country as a whole on a per capita basis between scenarios 1 and 4/5. It showed a small net gain for London from a WTO (4/5) versus base scenario which does then mean a small net loss for rUK. The differences are however tiny, spread over 12years and the assumption is a static govt response.

    As I’ve repeatedly said the biggest flaw in these models is that they have to be “robust” and assume a static govt. That is absurd. I gave the example of Agriculture where two reports had wildly different sector outcomes but both assumed no govt input. Clearly, the HMG of the day would have to make some decisions on the interplay of economic benefit v environment v trade mix, etc.

    However, if you assume the govt does nothing (as these models do assume) then the regional differences caused by WTO outcome are miniscule (less than 0.5% over 12years I think, lets call it 1% in case my memory is out). The EU national differences over the 9years from 2007 to 2016 were over 66% with the tax havens of Roi/Luxmebourg at the top and Club Med at the bottom. EU and especially ECB foster a regime that creates divergence.

    I’d highly recommend reading Stiglitz views on EU and Euro. He’s “left” and hence far more palatable to the LAB VI than someone like Bootle.

    Finally, I would again point out we have the power to kick HMG out every 5yrs. The current state of play makes every seat and therefore every region count. If CON want to be re-elected in 2022 they had better help out the North, Midlands and Wales for sure. What pressure do Macron or Merkel have to help Greece? They need to look to their own voters and in France and Germany, no Greek voter has the power to kick Macron or Merkel out but every UK voter has the power to kick May out – it’s more commonly referred to as democracy! .

    Try reading Stilgitz. “Price of Inequality” is excellent and I think you’ll agree with it near 100%. I haven’t finished his new book “The Euro” but so far it looks like a “left” version of Bootle’s “The Trouble with Europe”. Actually come to think of it Bootle’s “The Trouble with Markets” is very similar to Stilgitz “Price of Inequality”.

  38. @SAM

    I remeber pointing out to people my concerns as to the idea that the EU were pushovers, i think our arrogance and our lack of attention to how the EU the council of ministers and actually what happens in the europe actually frightens me. We are because of our language exceptionally insular. There are several EU versus monolithic blocks which would point to the EU approach.

    1. EU versus the big conclomerates (Googes, Apples, Microsofts etc)
    the EU has taken these enitties to court have had them fined big bucks and proved to be much better of enforcement than national governments at time s

    2. EU versus the Swiss referendum of FoM
    The EU accepted the referendum and then said it would mean that the access to the single market had to be cancelled. In the end the Swiss passed a very much watered down bill which was inconsequential to it original aims

    3. EU versu Greece

    This is one that is interesting, people seem wrongly to concentrate on germany. but google through the news and you will find that several easter eurpoean countries and Finland want the greeks kicked out of the EZ, euro and EU. it was actually Germany that actually held a middle ground in the debate.

    Simply put germany does not decide it cannot decide on its own it needs consensus and I think that the UK did not understand that you are dealing with more than an amorphous mass.

    More importantly in order to smooth negotitation the EU is very much rules based. They are not seat of the pant flexible since that would mean getting all 27 to agree again so the positon is often well considered.

    What always worried me was we were never sure what we wanted, we were constantly arguing amongst ourselve (the Government has been inept due to the infighting.

    Now when this all started I believed the UK starting position left little room for anything but WTO if you look at the phase 1 paperwork. it seems the government as said that the no deal is the bad deal

    Yes barnier has been consistent and even cheeky. expecting ECJ jurisdiction over EU citizens in a third country is ludicrous. and yes is somethign that could be conceded but it points to the fact his backing form the CoM was really solid.

  39. @ PTRP – offer to EU (my view)

    1/ Canada+++: we’ll pay the 40bn divorce bill, we fudge FoM slightly but Rudd makes a big deal about implementing existing EU laws*, no role for ECJ on trade issues beyond transition, full ability to conduct trade deals during transition*, allow EU free access to UK goods market (worth 100bn+/yr to their exporters) for no ongoing payment*, stay in a bunch of minor programs for a fee, unconditional “deep and special” relationship for security, etc


    2/ Min.Deal. We walk and start from a up approach using the time left for mini deals to keep planes in air, etc. Pay legal minimum only (roughly 20bn less). WTO with each other as MFN – full WTO tariffs on their 100bn+ trade surplus. Launch court case for equalisation+ if they try to exclude UK service exports. Mutter about sad lose of a friend with subtle inference about the troops we have in E.Europe! Commence immediate defensive on business sector pledging WTO rule bending support for businesses to stay/expand/move to UK, etc

    NB In Canada+++ I’ve put * against the ones we could compromise on (e.g. pay say 2bn/year, discuss but not implement new trade deals, etc)

    For further detail see May’s Lancaster House speech from Jan’17 but water down a little as that was the opener for negotiations and we’d always have to compromise a little.

    Oh and time limit for an answer, at least in principle! This should have been done in Oct but if we drift past Mar then expect the fire to be put to DD+May’s toes!

  40. @TW
    That’s not a valid parallel. The relationship between uk electorate and Uk government is obviously not the same advice that between Greek electorate and German government.

    The democratic deficit in the EU, which is profound, lies in the lack of control the EU electorate has over the EU executive. Although the UK electorate doesn’t have that much more under our system frankly.

    There’s no reason why a Greek voter should have any more ability to vote Merkel out than I have to vote Sturgeon out.

  41. @ PTRP – For me it has nothing to do with being treated special. We come from a position of regulatory alignment and it would foolish to ignore that. We also come from the desire to keep London open for EU provided they reciprocate.

    If they do not want to reciprocate and do not want a “deep and special” relationship then see my previous reply for Plan B

  42. @ PETERW – the democratic deficit in EU is huge in many ways, deeper than the breadth related example I gave. I was discussing the issue of regional differences intra-UK vis a vis the national differences intra-EU (and more narrowly EA). The example goes back to GDP and unemployment comparisons of London v NI vis a vis RoI v Greece.

    @ COLIN – so pro-EU bias to grand coalition and AfD given the platform of opposition. Mild bad news for UK negotiations as SPD put the “project” above their people and the people of other EU nations. Merkel’s odds have moved around a bit recently but back down to 95% probability they did get out to 85% probability at 9:34pm on the 12Jan, 95% a good place to cover as it isn’t a done deal yet ;)

  43. Interesting re Spain and Nd.

    I think it is the global trading history of these 2 countries and I would expect Portugal to be have a similar outlook

  44. correction, on the 8Jan!

  45. @ PTRP – Germany and Greece.

    Of course Germany wanted Greece to stay in EU and Euro – that is how they get their money back! That is the whole point. Keeping Greece in the Euro was not mercy it was brutal punishment – without the ability to devalue or default they had to internally devalue via massive spending cuts, wage cuts, pension cuts, hike taxes, etc. and enter a decade long depression costing them over 25% of their GDP! Austerity of a magnitude far beyond Osborne. This is why people make the comparison of Troika’s 3 Greek bail out packages to the Treaty of Versailles.

    The Greeks did not invade Berlin, they borrowed too much money with no way to pay it back – those that lent them the money should bear some of the burden of that. As someone who wants their student loan debt expunged your hypocrisy is astounding!

    Greece still have no realistic way to ever pay the debt back. Part of the Troika package required them to hike taxes, making them even less competitive than they already were and with 50% youth unemployment anyone of any talent (and linguistic skills) is leaving the country – again harming their future prosperity.

    Those countries that wanted to allow Greece to leave Euro and possibly also EU were offering mercy – mercy that Germany did not permit.

    As you can tell I get very emotional about the Greek issue and the way the Troika treated them so I’m signing off for the night now.

  46. PeterW

    “There’s no reason why a Greek voter should have any more ability to vote Merkel out than I have to vote Sturgeon out.”

    Actually, you can cast a vote for a party like UKIP that wants to abolish the Scottish Parliament. If it came into power in a sovereign UK Parliament and implemented that policy that would “get Sturgeon out” of the office of FM (and anybody else as well).

    So you have much more power over the Scottish FM than a Greek voter (or yourself) has over the German Chancellor.

  47. @PTRP re Barber boom/house prices

    I’m a bit older than you but can’t claim to have been politically engaged during the Barber boom so my comments are unreliable. However the Thatcher house price boom had nothing to do with fiscal conservatism and everything to do with politics, red in tooth and claw.
    Tenants with no stake in capital tend to be labourish, homeowners with wealth derived from their home tend to be toryish. Mrs T was determined to essentially buy votes by beguiling people into buying houses. I suspect Barber was a less sophisticated form of the same process. Don’t forget that mortgage interest was at least in part tax deductible from 1969 until Gordon Brown abolished it in 2000.
    I have long believed that one of the reasons for lack of investment and enterprise in the UK economy has been the ‘no-brainer’ attractiveness of housing as an investment. Any middle-income boomer in London would have had to try quite hard to make less than £500K profit if the bought a house in – say – 1980 and held it until -say- 2010. Their mortgage after the first few years would have been less than rent – even without tax relief. Colleagues told me in the 1980s that I was a mug because I was under-mortgaged (also because I refused to participate in that other great give-away – privatisations)
    And don’t imagine that current government housing policy is any different in its objectives: subsidise house-buying costs and keep house prices inflating – at least in the medium term.

  48. “OK, so in the event that Parliament decided to revoke A50”

    Parliamentary consent is not required to revoke Art 60 (should such a thing be possible). The reason parliamentary consent was required for Art50 implementation is because this would remove rights from UK citizens. Revoking Art50 would not have such an effect, so it could be done by decree.

    Not likely, I agree,

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