One year to go

You will unavoidably have noticed that today marks one year until Brexit day, when the article 50 timetable runs out and the British government has signalled its intention to leave the European Union. I’ve written a long piece over on the YouGov website here about where public opinion stands on Brexit which I’d encourage you to read, but here is a brief take on where we are.

Firstly, there has still been no big shift in opinion since the referendum. Since last year there has been a gradual drift, but nothing substantial. However, given the original vote was so close, that still means that you tend to find marginally more people saying Brexit is a bad thing than a good thing. YouGov ask a regular question asking if Brexit was the right or wrong decision – until the middle of last year it was typically showing an even split, in recent months it’s typically showing slightly more people think it was the wrong decision than the right one.

While it’s right to say people have moved against Brexit, it’s not right to say that most people want it stopped. If you ask people what the government should do now, the majority still want Brexit to go ahead in some way. The reason for this apparent paradox is that there is a minority of Remain voters who say the government should go ahead with Brexit – presumably because it is seen as democratic duty given the result of the referendum. One should be careful when interpreting individual polling results for this reason – you’ll sometimes find pro-Brexit sources representing polls showing a majority want to go ahead with Brexit as indicating majority support for Brexit, or anti-Brexit sources representing polls showing people disapprove of Brexit as opposing it going ahead. Neither appears to be true – looking at polling evidence in the whole the position appears to be that the public want Brexit to continue, despite starting to think it’s a bad idea.

Secondly, as ever it’s worth remembering that most people are really not that fussed about the details of Brexit. I could apply this caveat to almost any political issue, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth repeating. One reason that the ins and outs of the Brexit negotiations don’t make an impact on views is that people aren’t paying that much attention. 55% of people say they find news about Brexit boring (36% interesting). 47% of people say they are following Brexit very or fairly closely (itself probably an exaggeration) – 48% say they aren’t following it closely or at all.

Thirdly, support for a second referendum. Different polling companies produce very different results for this question, some (including the YouGov poll today) show more support than opposition for a second referendum, others show more people now support one. It seems to depend how the question is asked – wording along the lines of “asking the public” tends to provoke more support.

If a referendum was to happen, it would most likely be because of a government defeat in the Commons on the Brexit legislation or deal. The new YouGov poll asked whether people thought it was legitimate or not for the MPs to vote against Brexit. On the deal, the balance of opinion was that it was legitimate for MPs to block it – 42% thought it legitimate, 34% thought it was not. However, if it came to actually blocking Brexit itself the position swaps over – only 33% would see it as legitimate, 45% would not (as you might expect, it is mostly Remainers who see blocking Brexit as legitimate, most Leavers do not).

Finally the poll included some questions about whether the campaigns cheated in the referendum and the impact it had. Once again, people largely viewed it through the prism of their existing support for Remain or Leave.

  • 66% of Remain voters thought that the campaigns had cheated (39% Leave only, 3% Remain only and 24% both), and 45% of Remainers thought that if the campaigns had followed the rules Remain would have won.
  • 47% of Leave voters thought that the campaigns had cheated (14% Remain only, 4% Leave only and 29% both), but only 7% of Leavers thought that if the campaigns had followed the rules Remain would have won (16% thought Leave would have won more convincing had the rules been followed).

The full article on the YouGov website is here and the full tables are here.


218 Responses to “One year to go”

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  1. I heard a bit of the interview on the radio whilst out in an unmarked car today. The context appeared to be related to the “Brexit Bus Promise”. In other words, the real question was “aren’t we going to be worse off after Brexit and not have any Brexit dividend to spend?”

    Clearly that’s not something that May wants to answer in the affirmative, as it will be turned around into a “May declares Brexit promise was a lie” headline.

    Of course, it’s a relatively easy question to swerve – UK expenditure comes from taxation. Very little is “hypothecated”. Any “Brexit Dividend” would just accrue to central funds. It’s not a simple case of taking money you were paying out in one direction and paying it out somewhere else.

    A more confident speaker would have given an answer that boasted of the better than expected performance of the economy and said that extra health spending would be paid for from the proceeds of prudent financial government by the government. Good old “strong and stable wooden horse” May couldn’t pirouette like that and just had to stonewall.

    In the end, after her Kuenssberg interview, the headlines are basically the opposite of what was intended as a result “Brexit allows more spending on NHS and schools” (BBC online headline). This is of course a massive hostage to fortune – but given the uncertainty of “what if” scenarios about the UK economy post-Brexit, she may get away with it.

    On a related topic, I feel a bit smug that my suggestion of a specific NHS tax now seems to be a contender for government policy. Someone obviously reads my contributions here……

  2. Neil A

    “…given the uncertainty of ‘what if” scenarios…she may get away with it.

    Given the certainty of mainstream media bias, she certainly won’t be challenged on it.

  3. @ ON

    “Reducing the burden on the NHS by ensuring a peaceful end to patients’ suffering.”

    Hmmm, sounds like it needs a good pilot scheme. How about trialing with politicians who are past their best. Listening to TM anytime suggests she’s suffering quite badly from something.

  4. Norbold

    For God’s sake it’s Page Moss – I’m not sure if the residents have seen a conservative other than on the telly :-)

    Still, it’s a good turnout for Labour – that’s the only real measurement of party preference there.

  5. @Neil A

    “A more confident speaker would have given an answer that boasted of the better than expected performance of the economy and said that extra health spending would be paid for from the proceeds of prudent financial government by the government. Good old “strong and stable wooden horse” May couldn’t pirouette like that and just had to stonewall.”

    ———

    In the fuller quote attached to the tweet, it looks like she might have been trying to head in that direction. Sort of. I think!…

    A charitable reading put forward by others, is lacking confidence. Which is a bit less worrying than having a muddled mind. (Sometimes one thinks old Corby’s a bit muddled too and so McDonnell does the trickier economics stuff).

  6. Old Nat

    I don’t know what the turnout was, but in the 2016 election, the result (in a 3 members ward) was:

    Lab 1208/1123/1051 Grn 385

    And yes, I believe he is Kate Moss’s brother and that he is quite a good tailor.

    :

  7. NEIL A

    Whatever the government’s flaws (and they are legion), if they manage to put in place a hypothecated NHS tax then that will be a significant achievement, and the more independent it is of ministerial control the better. I’ve long believed it’s the only way to solve the perpetual funding crisis, we’ll just have to hope that the treasury mandarins don’t manage to nobble it.

  8. peterw,
    “I suggest that the main reason we had the Leave the EU outcome is that Cameron and Osborne fell for the fallacy when they ran PF2,”

    Plainly it didnt work, but i dont think it should be so easily dismissed. The reported views of voters on the two sides were broadly remainers believed in negative financial consequences of leaving and leavers didnt. So the old adage, “its the economy, stupid”, really was correct. However remain failed to convince, allowing leave to discredit professional analysis, which thy continue to do. I dont know if this was the case in the scottish referendum?

    I suggest that the tories running remain were frightend of attacking the positions of the tories running leave, because they expected to still be in government with them afterwards. And of course, still operating the exact same national polices after as before. To defend the EU against jibes made against it by saying that actully these were not EU failings but failings of the UK government was to say they themselves were causing the problems.(which they were)

    For example, both national parties have a policy of encouraging immigration to the uK to meet labour needs. Have had for years, it has been firm consensus policy and one of the perceived benefits of membership. Didnt Cameron actually turn down EU offers to assist limiting this? There has never been any problem of surplus EU citizens coming to the Uk and supply has always tracked demand.

    The UK could have chosen a different approach, altering our university system to turn out graduates in the right subjects, for example. But no, we have had governments for decades who believe in leaving the market to get on with it. And the market allows students to graduate in any subjct they fancy, rather than what the wide rUK market needs, and then the market seeks out people with the right attributes abroad. Moreover, there is no evidence this will change after Brexit: what is needed is a more command economy with more government intervention. What is being proposed is more immigration from outside the EU instead of inside.

    Only hope for anyone wanting such changes would be to ditch the tory-new labour consensus, which means vote Corbyn. And a number of voters seem to have spotted this.

    I have repeatedly said I think the general reports on the economic consequences of Brexit are wrong, because they do not address the long term effects on the ability of the UK to compete to attract business to base here. In large part they fail to do this because it is outside the remit of those making the reports, who are interested in short term effects. But it is long term which is the killer. But also it is not in the interest of some of the groups making studies, for example future consequences of such a situation might be slashed corporation taxes and lower wages, juicy consequences for some employers, but not employees.

    Leave are more than happy to support short term studies showing modest hits to the economy, but want nothing to do with any long term disaster scenarios. Short term hit fits their plan, because it allows them to point to minor pain, as if being honest, and then argue it is still an exaggeration. Straw man argument, setting up a defeatable unrealistic enemy in order to be able to defeat it.

    We have seen Trevor Warne go through this process here at great length.

    The only way to defeat the tory/new labour consensus is to find an electable alternative. For years the only one in sight was the liberals, but they went native too. Corbyn’s sucess has been because he is an outsider. Yes, he is the UK Trump, but not because his policies have anything in common with Trump’s, Both are in position because they represent something different.

    Both tory and new labour see Corbyn as a threat to them because he most certainly is. The electoral evidence is that his policies are increasingly popular, and forcing them to change theirs. Thus we see attemps to atack him on non policy grounds. The question is whether voters will fall for these, or recognise that, faults and all, he is the only option to change the direction of UK politics.

  9. Garj,
    “Whatever the government’s flaws (and they are legion), if they manage to put in place a hypothecated NHS tax then that will be a significant achievement”

    No, it will not. The problem is not how money is raised but the will of political parties to allocate money. Whatever government is in power will still select the level of the hypothecated tax according to its beliefs on overall spend. All that such a sitution will create is less flexibility in taxation, or added bureaucracy in administration.

    And according to the nature of the chosen tax, it will limit cross subsidy and responsibility. So for example, if it is an additional corporation tax used to raise the money, then workers will gleefully support is because it is not from their pocket. Employers will demand its abolition, or campaign to cut NHS spending. If it is an oil production tax, we will all happily attack oil company exploitation by voting for it.They will contribute funds to any party wanting to slash the NHS. If it is an income tax, those without incomes will love it, as will companies. Those with incomes will start to think about private medicine, and dismantling the NHS.

    A hypothecated tax immediatly discredits the expenditure by creating some group unfairly paying the cost and another unfairly benefitting. It is a way of whittling away at national support for that expenditure. That is why it is being proposed.

  10. Carfrew,
    “If Corbyn rambles, then May is content-free.”

    That isnt rambling by May, its strategy. Say nothing concrete has kept her in office.

    Catmanjeff,
    modest rise for tories, rather bigger fall for labour and the winner is…’dont know’.

    Three suggested interpretations:
    1) The dont knows who piled in for labour have gone back to dont know. Will be availabe to suport someone when next called upon, but who?

    2) Transfers between parties continue apace. UKIP continues to collapse and its voters transfer to tory. Tories less confident about Brexit continue to defect to dont know or even labour. Labour remainers are sceptical whether labour will deliver and switch to dont know. Some might be considering going back to libs or greens. Its all about the trickling down of Brexit alliegence votes.

    3) Its all about how negotiations are going. BINO, the apparent current course, is more popular for tories than hard Brexit, their previous election offering. So they are showing relative improvement.

  11. Danny: even if everything else you write is true, I don’t believe the last sentence – that it is a deliberate ploy to undermine universal healthcare – is. The current Conservative Party simply isn’t smart enough to follow your ingenious line of reasoning.

    Cock-up, not conspiracy.

  12. You Gov are running a poll on whether benefit claimants should be allowed to vote (will be one question among many).

    Can’t help wondering who the client is?

  13. DANNY

    You say:
    “A hypothecated tax immediatly discredits the expenditure by creating some group unfairly paying the cost and another unfairly benefitting. It is a way of whittling away at national support for that expenditure. That is why it is being proposed.”

    In the context of a hypothecated NHS tax I believe you are mistaken. Who would be ‘unfairly benefitting’? Actually, anyone who uses the NHS. Which is virtually everyone. Not just ‘some group’. And if it is charged as income tax, implemented by, in effect, an additional tax band charged before the (appropriately initially and equivalently shrunken) basic rate band, then everyone who pays income tax is paying it. If you’re going to argue thats unfair you might as well argue that income tax is unfair too.

    And once implemented, a hypothecated NHS tax would be politically very difficult to get rid of or reduce. As it would be so easy to criticise whoever did it as not supporting the NHS. No party would dare to be seen as attacking the NHS.

    I’m not saying it is ‘the’ solution to NHS funding but it isnt such a bad idea as you say.

  14. A hypothecated NHS tax would work but it needs to be across the whole of the tax system, not just income tax, which i only makes up 25% of Government income.
    For a start National insurance should not be reduced to 2% for higher earners and pensions should not be exempt. Also Corporation tax should also be included, after all businesses also benefit from a healthy nation.

  15. A hypothecated NHS tax is step one to:
    – NHS tax is a national insurance scheme.
    – Ah but I prefer private provision because I want to avoid waiting lists/ get a better telly
    – Good point sir, obviously would be unfair for you to pay for a national insurance scheme when you have a superior insurance scheme of your own, we’ll waive the tax for you if you show us your certificate from Virgin Insurance

  16. AW, anyone interested in the recent yougov,

    I see that on the three important issues, labour now have health tied with brexit. That is a relative rise in importance of Brexit, because health has led for a long time. I was trying to see how the ten point drop in support for health (comparing a random survey from feb) has redistributed, but couldnt really see any corresponding rises except defence. Defence up in importance amongst labour. But the number putting brexit top had also fallen.

    Yougov have swapped the column headings around – doesnt help comparison.

    Right to leave/wrong to leave show an uptick in extremism. More tories thinking it right, more labour thinking it wrong. This might support my hypothesis that we are still seeing Brexit trickledown. More UKIPers joining the tories, more former leavers/ neutral joining labour and even a suggestion of hard remainers deserting labour (libs also showing an uptick in remain support). While overall there might be random fluctuations, the changes separately in all three parties are consistent with this interpretation

    Government has a little more support for how negotiations going. Government has, of course, steered towards BINO and away from hard brexit. Whether the public sees it that way, not clear.

    3/4 of leave voters believe the government should continue negotiating as it is. The next biggest group at 12% is dont know.

    Amongst remain voters their view on what should be done done is more split, but a very different pattern. The biggest group at 34 % is a second referendum, but 27% think brexit should simply be abandoned. 14% want a softer brexit than currently, with 10% on dont know- similar proportion of dont knows as leavers. 16% think the government should continue as it is going.

    There is a problem with these figures, because the groups are out of date. Some 10-15% of the original leave/remain voters are now no longer declaring they would vote the same way. The breakdowns of difference in view of the two sides now is likely to be wrong by a margin of this size. So, for example, 10% of the 2016 leavers might be exected to no longer clearly support leave measures, and vice versa. 5% have swithched sides, both ways. The breakdowns would be clearer about what the sides think if they had columns for leave/remain now as well as the past voting record.

    But in summary, 75% of those who voted remain in 2016 want a softer Brexit/change in brexit through referendumt/halt brexit. 76% of those who voted remain want negotiations to continue as currently. Very even. No signs of less determination in either camp. Its just that the remain vote is shown as split over three routes to achieving their objective.

  17. @Danny

    Thanks for the comments.

    I will respond later when back from taking my son skate-boarding!.

  18. Re hypothecated NHS tax

    In 2008/9 the NHS would have had to be protected beyond that specific tax raised for it or the hypothecated tax rate raised to compensate which would have choked off demand in the Economy even more.

    Also makes planning harder as income is not known far enough ahead.

    Hypothecation can work in certain situations. Environmental fines used for environmental improvement beyond the essential for example. IMO

  19. CHRISLANE 1945

    :” i do not feel clear about what will replace them.”

    I was going to ask who you thought might be the next Neil Kinnock as i recall that it was he who retrieved the LP from the far Left in the 1980s.

    But wasn’t it Kinnock who remarked , after JC’s Ascendancy , that he had “got his party back”?

    Perhaps my history is in error-or my Labour Theology is inadequate-but this confuses me.

  20. OLDNAT

    Re Project Fear.

    Thanks for that point of information. Incidentally, my memory was somewhat faulty when I was giving Osbornes Project fear1 two digits. I exaggerated, he only forecast 500,000 extra unemployed not 800,000 as I posted.

    Charles

    “I don’t really foresee total gloom and doom. It’s more that I don’t see any major economic upsides to Brexit “

    I think you will find that to most Brexiters that economic gain is not the main driver, sovereignty is.

  21. @GUYMONDE
    ‘– Ah but I prefer private provision because I want to avoid waiting lists/ get a better telly
    – Good point sir, obviously would be unfair for you to pay for a national insurance scheme when you have a superior insurance scheme of your own, we’ll waive the tax for you if you show us your certificate from Virgin Insurance’

    Yes and please show where it covers you for emergency treatment

  22. I’ve been watching the Labour anti-semitism thing from afar, and in some amazement.

    I’m not claiming any great insight as I have no particular connection with, or knowledge of, the Labour party. But I can’t think of a single Labour member of my acquaintance who has ever expressed any overtly racist views. Maybe the recent influx of new members has brought in some with less savoury views?

    But the main point that occurs is that to the extent that there is any hostility towards Jewish people (and I don’t believe there is much; and almost certainly less than in right-wing older Tory members) then I suspect it’s socially, rather than racially, based.

    I know plenty of Labour members who dislike, even despise, “Tory Toffs.” Hostility towards those born with a silver spoon in their mouths, who effortlessly progress from Eton to Oxbridge to City and/or government, is widespread and widely perceived as legitimate.

    Could it be that perceived anti-semitism is just a variant of that anti-fatcattery? Just as suspicion of freemasonry is nothing to do with racism. It seems pretty clear that a lot of Jewish people are very successful in high-profile careers, whether academia, the law, commerce or politics. I’m sure that largely reflects talent and hard work, with maybe a helping hand from cronyism or nepotism. But that measure of success has always attracted suspicion and/or resentment from those less well placed in society.

    To even air these thoughts is to tread on eggshells, but to avoid such discussion or react in faux-horror is just another way to limit discussion and understanding of contentious issues.

  23. JIM JAM

    @”Also makes planning harder as income is not known far enough ahead.”

    I agree.

    Some sort of base line guarantee is what Hunt & others mean by a 10 year Plan I suspect.

    A minimum % of GDP ( like Defence & Foreign Aid)-plus some indexation related to demand levels perhaps ?

  24. “Yes, he is the UK Trump, but not because his policies have anything in common with Trump’s, Both are in position because they represent something different.”

    ——-

    So did Sanders, another anti-establishment figure who came out on nowhere and who’s a far better fit for Corbyn than Trump. Party mechanisms were able to deny Sanders, while Corbyn benefitted from the rule change and Trump the electoral college.

    Noting a particular similarity and then generalising from that can be rather flawed. One can easily see that both Corbyn and May came suddenly to power after the leadership screwed up, and they both are given to ramble on occasion, they’re both studiously vague in Brexit, neither could win a majority, they both have two legs… it all fits!! Corbyn is the UK Theresa May!!

  25. polltroll,
    “The current Conservative Party simply isn’t smart enough to follow your ingenious line of reasoning.Cock-up, not conspiracy.”

    Absolutely not. The parties have their entire lifetime careers dependent on holding power. Some scientist might discover an antibiotic. A career politician or political advisor is paid to acheive dismantling the NHS by stealth. Or whatever.

    Baldbloke,
    ” if it is charged as income tax, implemented by, in effect, an additional tax band charged before the (appropriately initially and equivalently shrunken) basic rate band, then everyone who pays income tax is paying it. If you’re going to argue thats unfair you might as well argue that income tax is unfair too.”

    Income tax IS unfair. Or it would be if it was the only tax. This is my line of reasoning about linking any one benefit to one tax.

    “once implemented, a hypothecated NHS tax would be politically very difficult to get rid of or reduce”

    Why? The current government had a clear mandate to cut expenditure and it did. Clear, in that maybe 25% of people supported it. What would change?

  26. On Project Fear 2 the latest figures from the ONS on the UK are interesting.

    GDP growth for last year revised up to 1.8 only marginally below the previous year. OBR and IMF forecasts both wrong again.

    Household spending rose by 1.7% to 1.2 Trillion a new record.

    Investment rose by 4% to a record £3317 billion, the strongest increase amongst the G7 nations.

    Business investment rose by 2.4% to a record 183.2 billion while exports also hit a record high, up 5.7% to 559.1 billion.

    Manufacturing output rose 2.5% to the highest level since 2007.

    Have a good day all.

  27. Somerjohn

    “and almost certainly less than in right-wing older Tory members) then I suspect it’s socially, rather than racially, based.”

    That’s a really unpleasant smear, back it up with facts or apologise.

  28. @Oldnat – “The long campaign that the Yes side wanted, and got, allowed many people to look at the issues in some detail, rather than just going along with the narrative.

    In England, the narrative from the media over decades had been negative about the EU, and the short campaign that Cameron insisted on did not allow any detailed examination of the issues, so the old narrative continued in the minds of many.”

    To be honest, I don’t see this. There is a persistent undercurrent in Scotland that the Scottish electorate is better educated, more sensible or just more prepared to crunch through the detail than their counterparts south of the border.

    As a southern Scottish observer of the two campaign, heavily engaged in both, I didn’t pick up any differences between the two in terms of style. Scottish voters were no more prepared to understand the detail than English EU voters.

    I recall many discussions on here where I (for example) had to wade through endless factual detail to demonstrate the nonsense regarding the SNP’s pensions kite flying, and trying to make pro indy voters understand that sterling is actually England’s currency that Scotland didn’t have to move to after union or that rUK would have a veto over Scottish membership of the EU was painful.

    Indeed, far from being more engaged in the detail, Scottish yes voters were every bit as much riding on never never land wave of emotion as Brexit voters in England, in my view. Neither campaign made a great deal of sense, and only the traditional Scots air of superiority over the English makes people think that somehow the level of debate up there was better than the EU referendum.

  29. I’m with Baldbloke on this one. I rather suspect many of the posters laying into the idea of a hypothecated NHS tax would be praising it from the rooftops if the Labour Party were suggesting it. (This brought to you by a swing voter who thinks hypothecation is generally a pretty good thing, and NHS hypothecation in particular.)

    There has definitely been a rise over the past few years, in a worldview that holds that the truth of a claim is contingent on the person uttering it. (The 21st-century idiom “check your privilege” is based entirely around this notion.) Either a hypothecated NHS tax is a good thing, or it isn’t. If it is a good thing, it’s still a good thing even when if hated Tories are implementing it.

  30. ToH,

    Roger Mexico posted a poll/survey the other day.

    It showed that ROC, older voters are more likely to hold racist and anti-semitic views but that in every group including that one it was a minority viewpoint, about 23% from memory in said group.

  31. Poll Troll,

    Labour looked at it prior to 1997 and dismissed it for the reason of how to handle down-turns in the economy and long term planning issues. IIRC the LDs did adopt the policy for at least one GE and it did not have the rigour to last beyond the one manifesto.

  32. POLL TROLL

    I think it is a problematic idea.

    I am a Conservative supporter.

  33. Danny: the difference between cutting a general tax and cutting a hypothecated tax is that the former is, generally, going to be popular, because people don’t see what spending is going to be cut, or what debt is going to be racked up, as a result. The latter, however, is going to be very unpopular if people support the thing the tax was being spent on.

  34. PT – and in 2008/9 when the economy shrankk by 7% or so would you have been happy to see NHS spending fall by that amount?

  35. Colin: Precisely my point. Just as people can support some ideas of their political opponents, they can also oppose some ideas of the party they vote for.

    Nobody is all good or all bad, all right or all wrong.

  36. If I may add there is a democracy issue here.
    I did not like the ConDem economic programme but, whilst arguing against it, accepted it as they were HMG. A law on hypothecation limits future Governments to set priorities according to what they see fit and presented to the Electorate in the round at the GE.

  37. JIMJAM

    Fair enough, just not met any in my circle or at the local Conservative Club.

  38. All, polling analysis continued (having to do this in stages)

    I see most people think both parties have wholly confusing policies on Brexit.(I assume it is party policy in both cases to give this impression.) The winning leader to negotiate for the UK is…neither. Theresa May just pips ‘not sure’ as best PM.

    Brexit is believed to be worse for the economy, worse for british influence, worse for jobs, worse for the nhs, worse for pensions. It is thought that brexit would reduce immigration, but yougov didnt ask here if people thought this would be good or bad. Later questions suggest in fact the answer to this would be divided (because some feel maintaining free movement an important aim of negotiations, see below)

    For tories, the top negotiating issue was ability to make world trade deals. For labour it was maintaining trade relations with the EU. Interesting difference in emphasis when both in fact claim a desire to increase trade opportunities. Second highest for tories was future payments to the EU and future role of the ECJ (tied). Whereas labour was interested in maintaining rights to live and work in the EU, and its third top was reciprocal rights for eu people to come here.

  39. JimJam: actually, that is a good point. But all things considered, I wouldn’t want to be responsible for administering a 7% drop in the economy, regardless of who took the hit. I do feel sorry for Gordon Brown – it’s not what he came into politics to do.

  40. Surely the question as to whether anti-semitic abuse in the LP is a confected smear, or a real problem can be tested factually.

    JC says ( I understand) that there have been 300 formal complaints to the Party since he became leader.

    By the same measurement system-does this represent a significant increase or not?

    How does it compare with other Political Parties.?

    I can’t find the answer to the first question , but in respect of the second question a simple Google search produced this.. Its findings seem quite dramatic.

    https://antisemitism.uk/politics/

    If anyone has documented evidence of flaws in CAA bona fides I would be interested.

  41. Jim Jam: not really. You could always repeal the legislation. No parliament can bind its successor.

    We don’t even have a constitution. More so than any other democracy, nothing in British Law is set in stone – beyond a level I’m happy with, to be honest.

  42. Polltroll: Danny: even if everything else you write is true, I don’t believe the last sentence – that it is a deliberate ploy to undermine universal healthcare – is. The current Conservative Party simply isn’t smart enough to follow your ingenious line of reasoning.

    Cock-up, not conspiracy.

    The current Conservative party is, I agree, not smart enough. But that makes it even more a conspiracy, because you can bet there is some interest group behind the idea with the specific intent of undermining universal healthcare.

  43. Colin

    Thanks for the link, looks like clear evidence so I support your question “If anyone has documented evidence of flaws in CAA bona fides I would be interested.”

  44. CHARLES
    Understood. My further, and I suppose, main objection is that Brexit has been promoted supposedly on economic grounds, but is risk-taking, in areas where the risks are apparent, such as that affecting financial services, of a kind which no economist or rational government would take.

  45. PT – fair point re repeal from you if I may return the acknowledgement.

    Colin – there is a middle ground that there is a genuine problem which may be being exaggerated and possibly being used by a minority within the party as a means to get at JC or provide some confirmation bias.

    FWIW, my view is that there is sadly some opportunistic leader bashing in play but enough genuine issues that require expeditious action.
    The opportunism ironically may have slowed down the addressing as the genuine was dismissed unfairly, and regrettably by even those dismissing.

  46. @TOH “I think you will find that to most Brexiters that economic gain is not the main driver, sovereignty is.”
    Agreed, (on the basis of personal beliefs without statistical support, but there are probably many others like me) to the extent that having a somewhat smaller increase in wealth over the next 10 or 15 years (what most treasury etc forecasts come down to) is a price worth paying. I would accept even an actual decline in living standards, because I remember being told “you never had it so good” with living with a single open fire, an outside toilet and rationed food all overcome before we entered the EEC.
    2. I’m also old enough to remember last time’s lies around the EEC referendum (anyone believing it was just a Common Market had only listened to the Heath government, and not read what the then actual members had said.)
    {That may to some extent influence the way older voters voted this time, as well as the selfish fact that we may not be around to take much of any financial hit}
    Finally there are unlikely to be many with my particular experience from the early days of UK membership of the EEC. My job entailed for some years reading on a daily basis in the Official Journal of the EEC the titles of every new Directive and Regulation, to find and read the text of those relevant to the industry in which I worked. That convinced me within days that little good would come of such interferingly wasteful ways of seeking to govern society.

  47. TO

    @”But that makes it even more a conspiracy, because you can bet there is some interest group behind the idea with the specific intent of undermining universal healthcare.”

    So………..you think Hunt lied to Peston in order to conceal a plan to destroy universal healthcare , behind a load of waffle about funding it adequately?

    Is that what you believe?

    “Jeremy Hunt has called for a 10-year funding deal for the NHS amid speculation the Government could back a ring-fenced tax rise to provide a cash boost.
    The Health and Social Care Secretary said a long-term deal would allow proper planning to train the staff needed to cope with the challenges of Britain’s ageing population.
    Appearing on ITV’s Peston on Sunday, Mr Hunt explained that in the next 10 years there will be one million more people aged over 75 in the UK, adding to pressures on the NHS and social care system.
    Referring to NHS funding in the past as “feast of famine”, Mr Hunt said the possibility of a tax earmarked for the health service was popular with voters – but only if they were convinced there was going to be reform.
    Mr Hunt acknowledged “that isn’t government policy” but “given that it takes seven years to train a doctor and three years to train a nurse, you need to have something that gives you the ability to look ahead”.
    Asked if the appeal of such a ring-fenced tax was that it would guarantee money to help the elderly and infirm, Mr Hunt said: “Absolutely. That is the attraction.”

    ITV

  48. DAVE

    Many thanks for an interesting post about your own experiences. I am also happy to take some short term monetary pain to get out of the EU but in the medium to long long term there will be a significant bonus, just IMO of course.

  49. Different take on the CAA here
    https://electronicintifada.net/content/campaign-against-antisemitism-campaign-against-palestinians/19916

    Of course some will say they would say that wouldn’t they, but it is an interesting read

  50. The Other Howard:

    On Project Fear 2 the latest figures from the ONS on the UK are interesting. ….
    Investment rose by 4% to a record £3317 billion, the strongest increase amongst the G7 nations.

    I only have the 2016 figure, but gdp was just under £2×10^9, so your investment figure looks suspicious.

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