Today the British Election Study published its face-to-face data for the 2017 election. The BES has two main elements: one is a large online panel element, using the same respondents in multiple waves so that they can track change at an individual level. The other part is a smaller face-to-face element, using a genuine random sample to try and get the best sample possible. The face-to-face element is also cross-referenced with the marked electoral register (that is, the copy of the register in polling stations where people’s names are crossed off as they vote) so that they can verify after the election whether people genuinely did or did not vote.

This means the face-to-face data is by far the best data we have on actual turnout levels and on turnout levels among different demographic groups. When discussing turnout I’m often asked about the official figures for turnout among men and women, young and old, and have to explain that these figures do not exist. While there are official figures of the numbers of votes cast in each constituency and the number of people on the electoral register (a different figure, note, to the number of people who are actually eligible to vote, where there is an absence of official data), there are no actual figures for turnout among demographic sub-groups of the population. We know how many people voted, but not details of their age, gender, class or other demographics.

Up until now there has been a widespread narrative that in 2018 Labour managed to engage young people who do not normally vote and substantially increase youth turnout at the general election (referred to by the rather irriating neologism “youthquake”). This was never based on particularly strong evidence. The narrative had begun to take hold during the campaign itself because of the difference between polls (a simple explanation of the polls during the 2017 campaign was that companies showing a large Tory lead were doing so because they weighting down younger respondents based on their past unlikelihood to vote and companies showing smaller Tory leads were basing turnout more on self-reporting and, therefore, often showing higher youth turnout). A common and not unreasonable assumption before the general election was, therefore, that if youth turnout did increase those polls showing a smaller Tory lead would be right, if youth turnout stayed low the Tories would win comfortably. Another common discussion during the campaign were the enthusiastic crowds of young people that were attracted to Jeremy Corbyn’s events. People sensibly cautioned that what mattered was whether those crowds actually suggested normally uninterested young people would vote, or just represented the more politically engaged young people.

By election day, there was a narrative that if all those enthusiastic young people actually came out to vote Labour would do well, and if it was just a mirage the Tories would win. Therefore when the Conservatives did do less well than most people expected the most easily available explanation to reach for was that young people had indeed been enthused to go out and vote Labour. In the immediate aftermath of the election an implausible claim that youth turnout was 72% was widely reported, without any apparent source. Shortly after that polling evidence from various companies emerged that did support a higher level of youth turnout. Given that the problem with polling accuracy in 2015 was that poll samples had too many of the sort of people who vote, particularly among young people, this evidence was rather dicey. It could have been that youth turnout had risen… or it could have been that polls still contained too many of the sort of young people who vote. The final bit of evidence was that seats that contained a larger proportion of young people did see their turnout rise more at the election… though as Chris Prosser and the rest of the BES team ably explain in their paper, this is not necessarily the strong evidence you might think: seats with more young people tend to be urban and more diverse, so it’s equally possible that urban areas in general saw a larger increase in turnout.

In fact the BES data released today – using a random sample and checked against the electoral register – does not find evidence of any increase in turnout among under 25s, thought does find some evidence of an increase in turnout among those between 25 and 44. The boost in youth turnout that people have been using to explain the 2017 election may not actually exist at all (or if it does, it was among relatively young voters, rather than the youngest voters). That’s not to say that young voters were not still important in explaining the election result – age was still an important divide on how people voted, young people did still heavily vote for Labour so it is still fair to say Labour managed to enthuse young people more, it’s just that the level of turnout among under 25s does not appear to have risen; Labour just took a greater share of support among younger voters.

This does raise some other questions about the polls at the 2017 election. Until now the most obvious explanation for why some polls got the figures very wrong and others got them right is that, by basing turnout patterns on what happened in 2015 some polls missed out on a genuine surge in youth turnout, therefore understating Labour support, and that polls showing higher youth turnout were closer to the actual result. However, if youth turnout didn’t actually rise then this explanation seems far less convincing. My own view is that the way turnout models were done was probably still a major factor in the error, but it may be more a case of how they were done rather than the principle (besides, there were some approaches, like the YouGov MRP model, that used demographics in their turnout modelling and did well). More on that issue another time.

In the meantime, there’s a summary of the BES findings on youth turnout here and their full paper is here.


562 Responses to “Some thoughts on the BES turnout data and the absent “youthquake””

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  1. Many thanks Anthony for your explanation of this survey and how it was an increase in 25 – 44 year-olds turning out which worked in Labour’s favour. It was a pleasure to read and I learned a lot.

    I guess it puts paid to the idea that Corbyn appealed mainly to students who lapped up his ‘promise’ to abolish tuition fees.

    My pet theory is that Labour’s vote also increased because women aged over 55, working in the public sector, had seen their pay frozen and the possibility of retirement moving ever further away. I know that men’s retirement age has also risen but an increase for women from 60 years to 67 years, over a relatively short period, is a big ask and there seems to have been very little discussion or debate about it.

    I don’t know if there is any polling on this?

  2. Trevor Warne,
    “Maybe the highly paid folks doing this kind of analysis are eating too many burgers and sat on overly comfy sofas?”

    I know they are. I still await an analysis of how much industry leaving the Uk will have how much effect on our GDP.

    We heer have debated this point for some while, though I appreciate it seems to have risen to the top of the propaganda war again just recently.

  3. 2c on BES. Looking at seats like Canterbury you can see the turnout didn’t go up massively but it:
    a/ did go up by enough to win the seats that a demographic turnout filter would predict (#1 predictor in seat changes after UNS)
    b/ won most of the ‘low hanging fruit’ of uni town seats (again big thanks to DRMIBBLES and RICHARD for their input back before the GE)

    so for those now pinning hopes on a genuine “youthquake” for next GE then consider the term “vote stacking in safe seats”

  4. @ DANNY – cling to the ‘we haven’t left yet’ if you want. We have a 100bn/year trade deficit in goods with EU so if any industry is moving to avoid tariffs the net flow would help UK (folks call that reshoring). I’ll fully accept the initial flow is/might be outward as its more of an obvious issue for UK to EU exporters at the moment but the penny is probably dropping on the EU to UK side as well and it should certainly be dropping for UK importers who might review their supply chain to domestic producers.

    You can ask BIGFATRON for updates on the Deutsche bank Brexodus if you like (or just google the continually lowered revisions and then grab them as “news” about the “massive” Brexodus hoping no one actually remembers the original Project Fear numbers)

    P.S. Agree on the analysts being highly paid. The ones I know don’t eat too many burgers but I do quite angry about the money being wasted on worthless analysis when we should be spending money on actual Project After implementation.

  5. Ooooh I presume they did a one-tail test where the null hypothesis was that the turnout among young people was x% and they found no reason to reject that hypothesis.

    An observation:

    the sample size (for 18-24 yo) is smallish at 151. The smaller the sample size the wider the confidence intervals are and so the more likely it is that no evidence will be found.

  6. B&B

    @”Colin, its a 0.13 % reduction relative to what it would have been each year:”

    Annual reduction-correct.

    @”represents an *annual* loss in production in 2034 of £40bn-$50bn”

    Incorrect-a cumulative loss at that point-but not an annual loss………….. you correctly identified the annual loss as 0.13% PER ANNUM

  7. Paula Thomas

    It’s called statistical power and is a common problem with the method of “Right we’ve got this data, what can we learn from it” rather than starting from “We want to learn x, how much data do we need in order to confirm or reject the presence of x?”.

  8. B&B

    You are correct.

    The 0.13% is the loss in GDP growth per annum, so a rate of rate of change. The cumulative effect on GDP in year 15 is a 2% drop in GDP, not 0.13%.

    The cumulative effect in terms of the sum of GDP from year 0 to year 15 would be 0.13 + 0.26 + 0.39 + … + 2.

  9. B & B

    We can’t of course calculate the actual effect in money terms after 15 years -because we don’t know what the forecast uses for “previously forecast” GDP growth.

    But lets make some assumptions to try & get a number in £.

    Could we agree on a base of 1.7% pa growth over the 15 years?

    You started with GDP of £2bn I think & it is there or thereabouts.

    So.

    Base GDP after 15 years-£2 trillion plus 1.7 pa cumulative=£2.575 Trillion

    Brexit reduction= 2% cumulatively less than base after 15 years=0.13% pa .

    So-

    Cumulative loss of GDP after 15 years =2% X £2575 bn.=£51.5bn CUMULATIVE.

    Annual loss of GDP at year 15 =0.13% X £2575 bn =£3.35bn ANNUALLY

  10. I am not against long posts per se. I think, generally, TLDR posts are so called because they are badly written and one can’t get beyond the first couple of sentences.

    I’ve a suggestion – before posting screeds, people should take some time and examine our host’s writing. They might just pick up a few tips.

  11. TrevorW
    “Those pinning hopes on a genuine youth quake “
    Straw Man! As ever, as Jim Jam and others have pointed out the necessary electoral coalition that is clunking into place behind a Corbyn led Labour Govt is quite diverse in terms of age, but it’s there. Having done a number of street stalls recently, in the Labour cause, the public response is very heartening. Hate to say it but the mood reminds me of 95/96!
    As to stacking up votes, the big difference at the next election is the number of seats where the LDs are an irrelevance now. I can already see those “it’s a two horse race” leaflets and tweets and Facebook posts doing their stuff.
    Be prepared to be very surprised as to the seats that will go red next time.

  12. RJW

    You have to remember that Lib Dem votes do not necessarily break for Labour. Squeezing the remaining Lib Dem vote in places like Truro and Falmouth will very likely just increase the Tory majority. (A prime example is Pudsey, where I lived until 2015. Labour actually won it when they got 40% in the Blair years, but now it is slipping away along with the once strong Lib Dem vote.
    There are many seats which are much safer for the Tories with Labour in second place than they were when the Lib Dems took 15-20% of the national vote.

  13. RJW

    Depends why that support went to Labour some might say Labour captured the pro remain vote from the people who thought Labour were a anti brexit party ,however we have now seen at least the Labour leadership have no intention of any brexit rerun.
    Brexit will have run it’s course by the next GE and the U.K. would have left, so then were back to the basics such as who is most trusted to run the economy and so on ,in the Labour hype over its success in the last election perhaps we should remember who won and who managed to increase the Tory vote.

  14. Trevor Warner,
    You are trotting out the deficit in manufacturing goods with the EU again! Of course it is hard to have a surplus in this sector with anyone when successive governments have systematically favoured the service sector ( where of course we do have a large surplus, and where companies can relocate so much more cheaply..)

    There are a great many more manufacturing companies in Europe than in the UK, so I would imagine the impact on most individual companies of losing the UK market would be relatively small. On the other hand there are a number of British companies that do a large amount of their trade in Europe, or who rely on European supply chains, for example in the motor industry. These are quite likely to relocate eventually. European companies with supply chains involving the UK will find it much easier to find new suppliers in the huge EU market than UK companies in these islands.

  15. @Hireton – good to see @Trevor Warne explaining to us that Brexit e projections are wrong because they don’t take into account future government actions, and then saying how wrong the post referendum projections were, while ignoring,,,,,er…government actions.

    Everyone seem to forget that we had yet another interest rate drop and a good deal of shaking of the magic money tree (both additional current account borrowing and the really really magic money of QE) just to keep things ticking along after the vote.

    In many ways, I wish the BoE and Chancellor had just sat on their @rses and told the 51.9% that they voted for it, so they can sort it out, and not loosened public spending, pumped billions of QE in and reduced borrowing costs.

    Even with all that we’ve lost a big chunk of growth and investment, but lets not worry about that. Lets just keep pretending the forecasts were completely wrong and the government didn’t change their course of action or do anything to help in response.

  16. leftieliberal
    “I think it is rather dangerous to use an American study to justify changes of left-right political position with age in a european country.”

    Hi LL. You are quoting the article I linked to not me personally. I just pointed out that the article disputed Ron’s assertion.

    bigfatron
    “I think it is well demonstrated both here and in the US that cohorts of voters do drift right as they age;”

    Although Ron says I misunderstood his point and he meant relatively.

    I don’t think the idea old people get more absolutely Conservative is demonstrated. You are probably right that there are differences between Europe and the US but how significant we can’t say. The evidence we do have doesn’t support the theory of age and conservative tendencies being proportional though. So the assumption that voters will drift right to the current Conservative party’s ideology as they get older is also unsupported. Of course the Conservative party might itself drift left as time goes by to occupy the ground the now relatively more conservative ex-youngsters started on but that’s hardly the same. I suppose that crux of this is that today’s young conservatives might be disappointed if they are waiting for their peers to come around to their way of thinking.

  17. Peter Kellner casting doubt on the reliability of findings of no youthquake. Points out how small the subsample for 18-24 year olds was (109) and how large the error margins are on this.

    http://www2.politicalbetting.com/index.php/archives/2018/01/30/ex-yougov-president-peter-kellner-raises-doubts-about-the-no-ge17-youthquake-reports/

  18. “A YouGov poll for WPI Strategy, a consultancy, found 69 per cent of people who voted for the Conservative Party in the 2017 general election think Mrs May should continue as prime minister, with 18 per cent saying that she should stand down and let someone else takeover. The rest did not know.
    Across all voters, 41 per cent said she should remain in position while 34 per cent said she should step down, with one in four voters saying they didn’t know.”

    The Times

  19. Turk and AndyIII
    What a quick response from a Tory and a LD!
    I obviously touched a nerve, I’m just reporting on how things are ‘on the
    streets ‘, well the polite shopping centres of North Somerset anyway. AndyIII, I’ve had exactly the same response you gave from a LD friend of mine, which can really be summarised, as ‘will ye no come back again? ‘ with reference to the lost orangey voters. IMO they won’t and the supposed reluctance of rustic voters to vote Labour is much exaggerated.
    Turk, I regard you as my opposite number: a Party man with considerable experience of local politics. Your response is pretty much the kind of smoke making I’d come up with if the boot was on the other foot.

  20. DANNY

    Ooops. I looked for a date on the blog. Sorry. By the way, what day is it?

  21. @alec

    Indeed, it’s interesting to see the Brexiter response to the leaked analysis but what I find even more interesting is the complete failure of the Levers since the referendum to take the initiative and lead. It’s been a bit like watching a clown’s car fall apart bit by bit as one by one their referendum assertions hit reality.

  22. RJW

    No nerves touched I can assure you after all it must be wonderful to be in touch with things on the street if somewhat insanitary.

  23. Germans ga**ing monkeys.

    you could not make it up.

  24. RJW,
    Well, N Somerset and its forerunner Woodspring is an excellent example of a seat in the rural SW which Labour will never win, but which the Lib Dems would have won in by-election any time between 1974 and 2010, and would very likely have held for several elections.
    You mention the run up to 1997: well you were actually closer to the Tories in 1997 than 2017, even in third place. And a mere 18.1% behind in 2001 when you squeezed into 2nd place. When the Lib Dem vote collapsed by 23% in 2015 you only gained 3.2% . In 2017 you increased by 12%, which was pretty much exactly the national increase in Labour vote, but you are 27.8% behind, which is the biggest ever gap between Tory and second place other than 2015. It needs to feel a great deal better than 1996 for Labour to get an overall majority in a 2 party election..

  25. RJW,
    Well, N Somerset and its forerunner Woodspring is an excellent example of a seat in the rural SW which Labour will never win, but which the Lib Dems would have won in by-election any time between 1974 and 2010, and would very likely have held for several elections.
    You mention the run up to 1997: well you were actually closer to the Tories in 1997 than 2017, even in third place. And a mere 18.1% behind in 2001 when you squeezed into 2nd place. When the Lib Dem vote collapsed by 23% in 2015 you only gained 3.2% . In 2017 you increased by 12%, which was pretty much exactly the national increase in Labour vote, but you are 27.8% behind, which is the biggest ever gap between Tory and second place other than 2015. It needs to feel a great deal better than 1996 for Labour to get an overall majority in a 2 party election..

  26. TURK

    It’s a myth that it’s all about the economy when it comes to a General Election. In 1992 the Tories despite taking the country through a recession. In 1997 there was a Labour landslide even though the economy was rapidly improving.

  27. @Alan
    “B&B
    You are correct.”

    ———

    Indeed he is. Colin is using an unconventional application of “cumulative”, to perform the fami1ar trick of making it seem like there’s an error when there isn’t. Paul might fall for it though!!

  28. Sam,
    I couldnt find a date either, but it references the paper it is attacking, which is dated 2016.

    Valerie,
    “I guess it puts paid to the idea that Corbyn appealed mainly to students who lapped up his ‘promise’ to abolish tuition fees.”

    I always felt this appealed as much to parents as to their student children, and particularly if they have a couple of kids whose futures they are contemplating.

    Trevor Warne,
    ” those now pinning hopes on a genuine “youthquake” for next GE then consider the term “vote stacking in safe seats” ”

    Their parents would be dispersed all over the country, not just in university towns. But yes, they might tend to stack in certain areas. Maybe even in the tory south.

    ” the penny is probably dropping on the EU to UK side as well and it should certainly be dropping for UK importers who might review their supply chain to domestic producers.”

    Today something on R4 was talking about China, and started optimistically abour how British company land rover has a plant there building vehicles. But then it all went downhill a bit when they started talking about the landwind (I think they said) which is a chinese manufactured ripoff of one of the landrover models. And isnt Landrover Indian? Will they soon be importing vehicles from China to the UK?

    I thought this was a perfect example why car companies move, and they will go to euroland not england. And as to our new developing world partners respecting our intellectual property? forget it. The UK by itself is not a big enough market to support a car industry, BL proved that.

  29. 2% off GDP by 15 years out what about GDP/head change as a result of Brexit.

    Bino better than Brino me thinks.

    I am with BFR the generation who lived through the loss of empire and the decline of influence are more likely to haver blue tinted spectacles imo.

  30. Has there been no apology yet from Brexit minister, Steve Baker?

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-30/brexit-minister-says-civil-servant-forecasts-are-always-wrong

    Either he or his department staff who always do wrong these wrong forecasts, will have to resign.

    Surely we could have had by now some rewording from Steve Baker, but I fear this is typical of Brexit thinking: people who are experts have not be trusted. Instead economists are insulted if they don`t twist facts to favour Brexit.

  31. Carfrew

    Yes, when you divide the hit to the country by 15 through an interesting misdirection, the minimum possible effect doesn’t seem that bad.

    In reality the hit is likely to be worse than the minimum possible effect so planning to not be in the UK in 15 years seems rational for me.

  32. This is from the Brexit Central site.

    “So, as the focus turns to the negotiation of this transition period, our negotiators need to maintain the line they have taken throughout: nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. If we reach March 2019 without a longer term deal, the transition period should not apply. We are not transitioning to a new deal: we are just moving onto WTO rules. We know how they work.”

    I don’t know how typical is this view.

    http://brexitcentral.com/uk-not-transition-long-term-deal-march-2019/

  33. OLDNAT:

    Sincerely sorry to be slow to reply.

    “do you think that the DUP leadership can (or will) consider the effect on its pragmatic voters, based on the economic analyses, and be prepared to adjust its support for the Tories on that basis?”

    If you are asking whether the DUP would refuse to support a Tory proposal that results in a hard border in Ireland I am not sure – but their position is they don’t want a hard border of that kind. But I am sure they would oppose any Tory plan for an economic border between GB and NI.

  34. I don’t think WTO rules are going to happen – it would require tariff borders to be erected and nobody wants them.

  35. @Alan

    Indeed, it does make it seem less bad. It’s using an ambiguity. The “annual loss to GDP” he cites sounds like it might be the full loss that year, but it is actually the ADDITIONAL loss over the year before. Which is quite a bit less than the full amount you pay that year.

  36. Or more specifically, a bit less than the full amount it costs you that year.

    Btw Alan, have you investigated keeping a foot in both camps and still keeping a foot in the door here as well as working abroad? I mention it because it seems all the rage among the foreign students here.

  37. Andrew111

    “the service sector ( where of course we do have a large surplus)”

    I know that this is the received wisdom, but perhaps there is less certainty about that claimed surplus than is supposed.

    Given the number of folk on here, who happily quote ONS data to support their assertions, I’ve been surprised by the lack of discussion analysis of the ONS publication on the asym-metry (and, therefore, significant unreliability) of the trade statistics produced by government agencies like ONS.

    https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/nationalaccounts/balanceofpayments/articles/asymmetriesintradedatadivingdeeperintoukbilateraltradedata/2018-01-29

    For example, the UK data held at the UN says that the UK has a $77 bn trade surplus in ser-vices while the data, from the countries with whom the UK trades, says that the UK has a $39 bn trade deficit in services.

    Now some of these differences will be based on factors like different definitions being used by different administrations, or variations in the type of data collected, that local statisticians have to use to produce their analyses.

    Still, if the UK doesn’t actually have a trade surplus in services, while having a trade deficit in goods, then the entire economic strategy of successive UK governments may be built on sand.

  38. Oldnat

    In any case the December agreement implies no economic border in Ireland so the government cannot change from that. The DUP won’t come into that part of it.

  39. Prof Howqrd

    Thanks. Not that I think you have a mole inside DUP HQ, keeping you informed (!), but I find your insights into the NI polity useful.

  40. Another sign of the contempt many Tories have for experts and intellectuals is the squeeze on universities. This financial pressure has caused the university management team to put forward proposals to revise staff pensions.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-42776449

    And I see that on average Scottish lecturers will have their pension reduced by £10,000 a year. That is a quite shocking drop in their expectancy, and no wonder there have been big majorities in favour of striking.

    The calculations on losses after Brexit simply ignore the hardships already produced by harsh Tory cuts, some of which P. Hammond felt necessary in order to prepare for Brexit.

  41. @Colin – “@”represents an *annual* loss in production in 2034 of £40bn-$50bn”

    Incorrect-a cumulative loss at that point-but not an annual loss………….. you correctly identified the annual loss as 0.13% PER ANNUM”

    I think you’ve got this completely wrong, and have made the same mistake as @TW did a while ago.

    As others have pointed out, by 2034 the annual loss is 2%, on your numbers £51.5bn. That’s what we lose just in the year 2034.

    Your notion of an annual loss of 0.13% or £3.35bn is completely false. This is only the loss in year 1. In year 2 it’s double this, as we have then lost 0.13% plus another 0.13%. Each year the annual loss gets bigger by another 0.13%.

    The accumulated loss in year 15 (all the losses in each year added up) is something like £378bn, and this in theory would be growing at the rate of £51.5bn + 0.13% for every subsequent year.

  42. It is a surreal time in politics, watching UK politicians commit economic suicide against their own better judgement in most cases.

  43. Amidst all this trashing of forecasters, one thing that doesn’t seem to be mentioned is in which direction the errors tend to be,

    When I looked into this, the evidence suggested that there was no particular direction positive or negative in the prediction errors, but the entire economic case for Brexit rests on the assumption that all the forecasts are in error in only one direction.

    If we are going to argue that the predictions are always wrong, the evidence suggests that they are as likely to be even worse that the forecasts as they are better than expected.

    Not something you hear leavers arguing, I suspect.

  44. @S Thomas

    Here are figures from the UK on testing:

    “UK animal experiments

    According to the latest Government figures (for 2016), a total of 3.9 million experiments were completed in Great Britain during 2016.

    Of these, 1.9 million (49%) related to the creation or breeding of genetically altered animals who were not used in further experiments.

    The remaining 2.0 million (50%) were other experiments on animals.

    Almost 700,000 animals were subjected to experiments that even the researchers considered had caused them moderate or severe suffering.

    Animals used in the UK included mice (1.2 million experiments), rats (238,841 experiments), birds (149,97 experiments), rabbits (15,431 experiments), guinea-pigs (26,186 experiments), monkeys (3,569 experiments), dogs (4,932 experiments), cats (190 experiments), horses (8,948 experiments), sheep (47,904 experiments), pigs (5,358 experiments), and fish (286,600 experiments).

    Of the 2.0 million experiments conducted on animals, 55% (1.1 million experiments) were in the area of basic research – much of it driven by the curiosity of university researchers.

    49% of experiments were conducted in universities, often using taxpayers’ funds.

    Only 13% of experiments were apparently required by regulators.

    In 2016, 89% of experiments conducted on monkeys used animals who were imported from outside the EU.

    Experiments are still being conducted for toxicological tests where there are valid non-animal alternatives available. This includes:
    skin irritation (252 tests in 2016)
    eye irritation (128 tests in 2016)
    acute lethal toxicity tests (11,530 tests in 2016)
    pyrogenicity (fever) tests (2,472 tests in 2016) on live rabbits”

    https://www.crueltyfreeinternational.org/why-we-do-it/facts-and-figures-animal-testing

    The UK is hardly a bastion of virtue is it?

  45. @Sam – your quote from the Brexitcentral post isn’t, to my mind, the most revealing part of the article. This is –

    “If, on the contrary, the Government were to accept that a two-year transition period would operate even in the absence of a long-term deal, in the lead up to a switch to WTO rules, two consequences would flow: first, the WTO outcome would become more likely, as the EU would fear a ‘hard ‘Brexit less; and second, businesses might well use that two-year period to decamp en masse, and EU states would likely use the period to prepare themselves to accommodate financial markets and other functions within the EU.”

    This appears to be an admission that WTO rules would see significant damage to the UK, even while the writer seems to be suggesting that we hold out the threat of a hard Brexit as our negotiation strategy.

    It seems completely bonkers to me, but it makes a change from Brexiters breezily promising that we have nothing to fear from WTO.

  46. Alec – well spotted. In sum: WTO is not a credible threat.

  47. alec

    First thing I thought when I read that they thought all forecasts were wrong, was that this recent one could therefore actually turn out worse.

    What baffles me is that if you and I immediately think that, why are politicians and commentators opposed to brexit not immediately making these points?

  48. catmanjeff

    No agreed but i dont think we have allowed our car manufacturers to gas primates in profit driven tests.
    still old habits die hard.

  49. The leaked Brexit report seems to cover pretty much the same period and come to pretty much the same projections as the report that Osborne used during the campaign to come up with his GDP per household/ household income mendacity. The one that was essentially the flip side to that bus slogan of Boris’s, but has largely been forgotten as it failed to resonate (or at any rate, he lost).

    So I’m with those who say it’s hardly news.

    As I recall the post-ref polling (Ashcroft in particular) suggested that some Leavers are indeed in denial over this (although given the record of economic projections they may of course be right to be in denial) but the large majority had an economic hit factored in the price of their vote. So I doubt this will have much traction, especially as it just looks like repetition of data from the campaign.

  50. S Thomas

    That may well be the nastiest bit of hatred for the people of another country that has ever been posted on UKPR.

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