Study says that a majority of UK constituencies now back staying in the EU

The Observer today suggests that as many as 112 seats may have changed from Leave to Remain.

In findings that could have a significant impact on the parliamentary battle of Brexit later this year, the study concludes that most seats in Britain now contain a majority of voters who want to stay in the EU.

The analysis, one of the most comprehensive assessments of Brexit sentiment since the referendum, suggests the shift has been driven by doubts among Labour voters who backed Leave.

As a result, the trend is starkest in the north of England and Wales – Labour heartlands in which Brexit sentiment appears to be changing. The development will heap further pressure on Jeremy Corbyn to soften the party’s opposition to reconsidering Britain’s EU departure.

What will Corbyn, a lifelong opponent of the EU, do now? Will he bow to the evidence that Labour voters are flocking to stay in the EU or will he hold firm in his opposition even to the customs union and single market.

And what will those in the Labour Party do if he refuses to budge his position? Especially those in Labour seats who are now backing Remain?

All this does is ramp up pressure for a change in course, for a People’s Vote. I have been pleasantly surprised by the People’s Vote campaign. It may be the grandchild of the dreadful Stronger In campaign that lost the referendum, but it seems to have learned some valuable lessons. In recent weeks, we’ve seen people like former Leave voter Danny Dyer, who now backs Remain, and Gary Lineker announce their support for a People’s Vote. This, of course, is what the Lib Dems have been calling for for two years and everyone has now caught up with our position.

We are now in a situation where:

The Leave campaign has been found to have cheated. And broken the law.

Successive polls suggest support for a vote on the deal

We’re talking about having to stockpile food and medicine – neither of which actually work as a solution – in the event of the no deal Brexit that the likes of Jacob Rees-Mogg thinks is “nothing to be frightened of.” Tell that to someone who needs certain drugs to keep them alive. Tell that to someone who loves the person who needs those drugs.

Let’s face it, we all love someone who needs drugs for heart conditions, for Diabetes, for Epilepsy, for whom the supply post no-deal Brexit is far from assured.

Vince had this to say:

Whether someone voted to leave or stay in the EU in 2016, nearly everyone is disillusioned by the mess the Conservatives have made of Brexit.

This research is yet more compelling evidence that the British people must be given the final say on any – or no – Brexit deal. The shallow argument against giving the people their say diminishes towards nothingness with every passing day.

Seriously, if you bought a toaster that turned out to be dodgy and not living up to the wild claims about it (£350 million a week for the NHS, anyone?), you would take it back to the shop, get a refund, swear never to go back to that shop again and get on with your life. The very least we deserve, after being sold a very dodgy Brexit product indeed, is the chance to think again when it has become clear that using it would put our lives and livelihoods in danger. I think that the refund in this case should come with compensation – a bold and radical programme of reforms and rebuilding this country so that people aren’t just left to struggle with poor and expensive housing on low incomes and insecure jobs, that it seems like those who are rich and powerful face consequences when they do wrong or don’t pay enough tax. Investing in public services doesn’t feel so pricy when you consider that what we get out of it is a happier, less divided country.

Today’s study is another stepping stone that builds the bridge to a vote on the deal. We need to keep up that pressure in the coming weeks and months and demand that the Government and the so-called Labour opposition change course. The course of this country should be guided by the people and not the right wing of the Conservative Party.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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59 Comments

  • Is there a full list of seats available?
    I am represented by Frank Field MP who often cites the reason he voted slavishly for a hard Brexit is because it’s what his constituents in Birkenhead want (estimated leave vote was 51-49)
    I think I can see Birkenhead highlighted on the map but want to be sure.
    Now people know they were lied to with no extra money for the NHS and thousands of jobs under threat not to mention food supply chains broken it’s no surprise minds are changing.

  • I have just read the article in the Observer on this. The approach of the study is very similar to the YouGov model which turned out to be getting more accurate results than standard polling in the 2017 election. If it is as accurate this time it should make some Labour MPs rethink their tactics. It is disappointing that leading Conservatives are more concerned about their own career ambitions than the future of the country and that many Labour MPs seem to be more concerned about keeping their seats.

  • No constituencies backed or voted against the EU. The referendum was a head count based on one person one vote counting exactly the same throughout Britain. The count was organised within boundaries for convenience and for no other reason. It was not a in any shape or form a parliamentary election. The notion that this or that ward voted for this or that is distortion based on the misleading use of electoral boundaries .

  • David Becket 12th Aug '18 - 9:52am

    We do need a list of the seats. This gives an indication of where we should be using resources

  • Can this Party please move on from Brexit.
    We seem to be honing in on Brexit to the exclusion of just about everything else. This cannot be good for this Party.
    Time to think of other issues important to the public. The voting public is not fixated on this just one issue

  • “On Saturday Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable said those opponents had to work together to bring about a chance for people to have another say. “We have to work across party frontiers,” he said”

    So why is the party telling activists not to use the phrase ‘people’s vote’? It is the commonly used shorthand by people across parties.

  • Phil Wainewright 12th Aug '18 - 10:41am

    According to whom @OnceALibDem? I have heard the party’s Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake MP telling activists this summer that People’s Vote is the term we should use.

    We’re ready to move on @libDemer as Caron makes clear in her article when she writes:

    “I think that the refund in this case should come with compensation – a bold and radical programme of reforms and rebuilding this country so that people aren’t just left to struggle with poor and expensive housing on low incomes and insecure jobs …”

    This is exactly right – Leavers voted for change and we must ensure that if Brexit doesn’t happen then at least there must be real change in this country, not a return to the status quo. Let’s hope these sentiments find their way into the EU motion to be debated at conference.

  • David Becket 12th Aug '18 - 11:02am

    @libdemer

    We cannot ignore Brexit and move on as you suggest, it is the most important issue facing the country today.

    What we should be doing is surrounding our Brexit policy with a series of radical measures to tackle the underlining issues in our society.

    This starts with a summary of our proposals (both agreed and in debate) in a readable format.

    We promote the concept of readable Focus for local issues, but so much of our policy is tied up in the bureaucratic jargon from the FPC.

    Caron and Phil Wainewright make the same point, time to move on. Is the Federal party and committees listening
    Unless we get a much slicker act together we will stay around 10%

  • Arnold
    I don’t think Brexit will be bad. I think all the evidence is pointing to it being the millennium bug of politics. I don’t think it comes down to project fear either. I think it’s the age of Chicken Little in some pro- EU circles with a lot of panicked people genuinely believing this stuff and they are going to look a bit silly when the sky fails to fall.

  • Can we move on from Brexit. Well even if we did the Tories couldn’t, neither could Labour who are still doing gymnastics on the wall. The media couldn’t either, nor could the economy which is sat paralyised with fear. I’m afraid Brexit consumes all, it was always going to be that way and while the process continues it will remain that way. I know Brexiteers claimed it would be easy but you know what they lied ( shock horror probe, who’d have thunk it). So as Brexit the Elephant continues to dance, I’m afraid we will all be looking with shock and horror as she tangos over sections of society and mashes them into the carpet. The only way to drag people away from the horror show engulfing our country is to stop it and if you don’t well Brexit Nelly will dance faster and faster and more people will scream.

  • John Marriott 12th Aug '18 - 11:15am

    At least one person, interviewed in The Observer, who had previously voted to leave said that, although they had changed their mind, wouldn’t vote in a second referendum. How much use is that? Mind you, only about 37% of those eligible to vote supported Brexit last time – hardly a ringing endorsement.

    Given the unease in Europe on several issues, if I were the Commission, I would be getting worried about what the next EU might throw up. So, isn’t it time it rethought its aims if it was counting on surviving? Otherwise it could be facing more referenda in the future.

  • John Marriott 12th Aug ’18 – 11:15am:
    Mind you, only about 37% of those eligible to vote supported Brexit last time – hardly a ringing endorsement.

    Only 34.7% voted to Remain. Since 37.4% is larger than 34.7% we’re leaving. That’s how democracy works.

  • Glenn, the millennium bug was real and only avoided by many thousands of hours of work. I don’t see the same amount of planning going into BREXIT.

  • Many Brexiteers I know are losing interest, they wouldn’t vote remain they just wouldn’t vote. They always tended to be apathetic and they are sinking back into apathy. There rational isn’t that they like the EU it’s just that the Brexit leadership are as bad. A plague on both your houses is how they see it (I suppose they have a point).

    P.S Arnold your asking Brexiteer for evidence you are a card! A Brexiteer doing evidence that would be a novelty.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 12th Aug '18 - 12:07pm

    @David Becket There is nothing more important than stopping brexit because it is an absolute disaster for the country. Part of that is doing what should have been done years ago and develop a programme of radical reform – and that includes political reform – to tackle Leave voter’s concerns. They were valid concerns but they blamed the EU rather than our governments.

  • William Fowler 12th Aug '18 - 12:08pm

    The EU is now muttering about giving a freedom of movement opt for single market access for goods, if it gave one for associate membership to the EU it would then force a second vote as the terms would have changed, etc.

    However, many people enjoy the freedom of movement aspect and want to keep it, so much better to have a ultra tough residence test (with opt outs for front-line personnel) that exclude people from benefits, tax credits, personal tax allowance, social housing etc for the first five or ten years (the latter would mean changing the time to get a UK passport from 5/6 years to 10/12 years) – this would kill low skill immigration whilst making little difference to highly paid immigrants.

  • Sue Sutherland 12th Aug '18 - 12:21pm

    It’s so encouraging to read lots of comments in favour of radical reform alongside getting out of Brexit. I am hoping that several of the debates at Conference will allow this to happen and that Vince pulls it all together as a program of radical reform as Caron suggests. I would love to be able to come to conference but illness disables me so I hope you are all attending and get a chance to put your points across.

  • Are these two Jeff and Glenn from the Isolationist party, they seem to be very anti EU and don’t represent Liberal Democrat values? I have heard of infiltration of the Party before but it seems to be very open on here at times to the point of opposing core policies or is it the last rites of the Orange Bookers. And yes as someone with Crohns disease I do trust EU food standards, EFSA, more than elsewhere and will continue to do so.

  • Helen Dudden 12th Aug '18 - 12:37pm

    I can remember many years talking to Sir Graham Watson on a legal situation with a country in the EU. I still believe in Brexit, I would back it totally. If you become involved with injustice, I’m sure anyone would do the same.

  • Marcstevens
    I’ve been on here donkey’s years. I’m simply one of the 30% of Lib Dems who voted to leave the EU.

  • All this doom about Brexit is sure hyperbole. Our country has faced challenges before and have managed to overcome them. Talking about Brexit being a national disaster is turning off voters and making the Lib Dems a UKIP in reverse. A fringe party only interested in a single issue.

  • John Marriott 12th Aug '18 - 1:03pm

    @Jeff
    So, what about the 28% or so who didn’t vote at all? Could we assume that they didn’t care either way, or could we assume that they were more or less in favour of remaining? The government is currently trying on our behalf to do a deal with the EU, as the referendum required them to do; but it’s not going very smoothly, is it? But, as Jess Phillips MP said the other week on ‘Any Questions?’, we decided to leave them, so, why should they want to do us any favours?

    As a pragmatic ‘remainer’, who can see the economic advantage (even necessity) of staying outweighing EU’s federalist tendencies, of which we can opt out in any case, if it could be clearly demonstrated that, after all options had been explored, there was a significant movement from Leave to Remain, I would then support another vote; but, this time, its result should be advisory and the final decision should rest with Parliament. Also, why not find a way to make participation compulsory?

  • @John Marriott

    “So, what about the 28% or so who didn’t vote at all? Could we assume that they didn’t care either way, or could we assume that they were more or less in favour of remaining?”

    You can’t assume anything, apart from the small minority of this percentage who found themselves unable to vote through unforeseen circumstances like illness etc, the rest chose not to vote at all, so they’re discounted from the figures, that is the way democracy works. trying to lump the those who did not vote, in with those who voted remain is misleading.

    in regards to your comments about making voting compulsory, actually that is something that I am in favour of for general elections and Referendums.
    Might do away with all these complaints about safe seats.

  • Sean Hyland 12th Aug '18 - 1:40pm

    I would welcome a Peoples Vote even though I voted leave. We live in democracy and nothing should ever be set in stone. Hopefully we would have better campaigns from both sides this time.

    The Lib Dems do need to clarify and try to publicize their wider programme. It needs to be radical and offer hope of change. Maybe also offer some recognition that the EU isn’t perfect, but has done a lot of good, alongside a proposal of how and what needs to be reformed it the UK is to stay in and maybe address the wider concerns of some of the leave voters. Not appeasement but a clear plan.

  • This is both good news and bad news for Remain.

    Firstly the bad news – buried in the report is that the opinion poll that this is based on shows 47% for Leave and 53% for Remain That is of course in line with internet opinion polls before and during the referendum campaign which Leave won (Yougov for example showed 48% for Leave, 52% for Remain in a poll conducted on the day of the referendum). It doesn’t mean that Leave (or Remain) will win – it is a snapshot, there is sampling error and there would be a campaign to be fought and Remain would start ahead.

    The good news is what it says about individual constituencies. And of course this is modelling based on an opinion poll but does follow as I understand it some of the methodology that Yougov adopted to fairly accurately predict the results at a constituency level at the general election and is based on a large poll of 15,000 people as supposed to the more normal 1-2,000 which helps with sub-samples in particular. And of course as people have pointed out the only referendum result that counts is the overall national one.

    But a key point for Labour is that people arguing that they should not support a second referendum have said that while a majority of Labour voters supported remain – two-thirds of their constituencies supported leave – if this is not the case at a constituency level and they are at risk of losing of individual constituencies which is what counts with FPTP then this would be further pressure on them to support a second referendum.

  • @Stuart

    There is a map that you can click on to get the estimates for individual constituencies at
    https://www.bestforbritain.org/map

    Yes – Birkenhead is estimated to have changed:

    Birkenhead
    2016 remain 48.3% leave 51.7%
    2018 remain 58.4% leave 41.6%

  • OnceALibDem 12th Aug '18 - 5:54pm

    @Phil Wainewright – The party’s campaign pack on Brexit says,

    “That’s why we’re leading the fight to stop Brexit. We’ll do this by demanding people – not politicians – get the final say on the Brexit deal, including the option to remain in the EU [please avoid using ‘People’s Vote’].

    It’s a dumb position. If Tom is saying that he is being a lot more sensible!

  • @Michael1 thankyou for the link to the map. Very interesting. Just clicking through I can find very few constituencies where the Leave vote has increased. This shows that we are indeed winning hearts and minds everywhere. But we all need to be out talking to everyone we can – friends, colleagues, neighbours. Message: Brexit is not inevitable, it can be stopped. We need that to be the conversation in the pubs and around the watercoolers.

  • Katharine Pindar 12th Aug '18 - 8:26pm

    ‘A bold and radical programme of reforms and rebuilding this country’. Well said, Caron, on what is needed after Brexit is reversed. I am encouraged by the many good things I am reading in the Agenda for Brighton, and look forward eagerly to our debates there.

  • Little Jackie Paper 12th Aug '18 - 10:38pm

    Caron Lindsay – ‘Part of that is doing what should have been done years ago and develop a programme of radical reform – and that includes political reform – to tackle Leave voter’s concerns.’

    And what would that involve? Serious question. Everyone seems to say that but I never hear anything beyond, ‘something must be done.’ I know exactly what I wanted to hear from REMAIN. But what are these reforms – it matters because the failure to articulate those reforms is exactly why REMAIN came across as the More Of The Same Party and probably won it for LEAVE. My heart sank for example when Osborne said that being in the EU meant the maintenance of high house prices.

    It’s all well and good saying we need reform, but what is that.

    ‘They were valid concerns but they blamed the EU rather than our governments.’

    But isn’t that part of the problem. The EU at best is an opaque thing and at worst it allows for policy laundering.

  • Little Jackie Paper 12th Aug '18 - 10:53pm

    Michael1 – I would suggest that the problem is not per se with a second referendum, just one that has REMAIN as an option.

  • Little Jackie Paper
    “Tackling people’s concerns” basically means saying “we have listened and are going to do exactly what we were always going to do anyway, but with a furrowed brow to indicate some sort of vague acknowledgement of having listened “. It’s based on the idea that representative democracy means people are electing ” professionals” to make decisions for them rather than spokesman to present a broadly representative view. IMO what some people call illiberal democracy or populism is mostly the result unresponsive professional politics. It’s like hiring a wedding planner who insists on making shrimp the centre piece of the menu when they’ve been told repeatedly that most of the guests are vegetarians or something.

  • Bless the Brexiteers are whining no one listens to their concerns. Well it is pretty hard to listen when you don’t seem to know what they are or can agree amongst yourself what they are. Secondly who can seriously claim the Brexiteer leadership of Mogg, Johnson, Farage and May actually care about you. I get people are unhappy and want a better live, how unfortunate you have handed power over to a group who don’t want what you want. They want capitalism red in tooth and claw and if you can’t hack it tough, Abdul from Pakistan, Carlos from Brazil or Kwame from Nigeria can. They go on about attracting the brightest and best what they actually mean id the trained and cheap and if it displaces you well that’s capitalism folks.

  • As reality roles in the Brexiteers change their chant now all that matters is Brexit. No more sunlit uplands, the faeries seem to have died. the unicorn have run away. All they want is Brexit because when it occurs we will all forget about it and be friends with them again (sorry to break this to you Glenn, Brexit day is just the start not the end and I suspect things will get even nastier) and people won’t point out the feebleness of their arguments (again i rather doubt they will stop). What I suspect will happen is their leadership will move on and reinvent themselves into something populist. I suspect many a Brexiteer will tagalong after them blaming remainers, the EU and Furrins for their problems; tis sad but I fear inevitably true.

  • Andrew Daer 13th Aug '18 - 8:09am

    Glenn,
    the referendum was, of course, a straight headcount, but The Observer article was intended to inform MPs who voted Remain, but have since felt constrained by representing a leave constituency, that they might no longer have that worry, because the mood of the country is shifting.
    Regarding your ‘millennium bug’ remarks, have I understood your logic correctly ? You seem to be saying that because the IT concerns in 1999 were overstated, therefore it follows that when a large number of people predict something bad, they will always be wrong. Extrapolating theories from a statistical sample of one is usually regarded as unwise. Is it not perhaps more likely that your belief in this rather flaky logic stems from you simply wishing it to be true?

  • Andrew,
    No. My belief is that parts of the remain camp are mistaking an acorn dropping on their head for the sky falling and my point about the millennium bug was more about the way a story can whip up panic. Obviously, sometimes predictions are right, but I strongly suspect that this particular apocalyptic vision is not one of those times. I think the real problem for Remain support will begin when people see that the EU is not that important or powerful. As for the tide turning, well tides ebb and flow. If remain had won I have little doubt that members of the leave camp would be pointing at the tide ebbing and flowing too.

  • John Marriott 13th Aug '18 - 9:52am

    OK, if we do ask people to vote again on Brexit, can’t we make it a bit more nuanced this time? Let’s start with the ‘No deal’ scenario:

    “Your Government has unfortunately failed to reach agreement with the European Union (EU) on terms for leaving. We would therefore like you to choose ONE of the following options. If you have no strong preference, please indicate by ticking the box below. Please be aware that this consultation is ADVISORY and that the final decision how to proceed will rest with your elected representatives in Parliament.

    Choose either ONE Option OR tick the box at the bottom:

    OPTION 1: Leave the EU on World Trade Organisation terms.
    OPTION 2: Remain a full member of the EU.
    OPTION 3: Become an Associate Member of the EU (like Norway and Switzerland).

    I have no strong option………… “

    If some sort of ‘deal’ can be cobbled together that could be a further option, making four altogether.

    Possibly a bit ‘pie in the sky’; but other contributors may have better ideas.

  • John Marriott 13th Aug '18 - 9:54am

    That last ‘option’ should have read ‘I have no strong OPINION’.

  • Katharine Pindar 13th Aug '18 - 9:56am

    Little Jackie Paper, our party has strong policies for reform in this country, addressing the many wrongs and helping the people worst affected. The plans will be further developed in our Conference at Brighton in September. Why don’t you look at the Agenda papers produced, on the Website, or even just the introductory paper?

  • William Fowler 13th Aug '18 - 11:37am

    This radical reform business to address the problems of the people who voted for Brexit whilst remaining in the EU sounds lovely except the LibDems seem so slow off the mark that by the time it is all formulated and confirmed we will be OUT OF THE EU.

  • There is a saying that “You should be careful what you wish for”. Remember, we will not decide the wording of another referendum. It is quite possible to envisage a wording that will not give much option than to accept whatever deal TM gets. Another referendum is not an end point but a stage in reversing Brexit. I would not be happy if we get another referendum and leave the eu.

  • OnceALibDem 13th Aug '18 - 4:30pm

    “Become an Associate Member of the EU (like Norway and Switzerland).”

    There is AIUI no such thing as associate membership. One is a member of the EEA, the other isn’t. So what are people who support this option choosing.?

  • John Marriott 13th Aug '18 - 6:39pm

    @OnceALibDem
    OK, you don’t like the word ‘Associate’. What word do you suggest to describe countries like Norway, then? I didn’t mention the EEA, which I could have. I wanted to keep the options fairly straightforward. Naively, I was hoping that some people might come forward with their own suggestions/improvements. Over to you, whoever you are.

  • OnceALibDem 13th Aug '18 - 7:09pm

    Well two things I’ve said before

    1) It is pure onanism to speculate in detail about the format of a referendum when there is nothing like a parliamentary majority for it (let alone government support). There is no instance of a bill being based into law without government support since at least WW2 and probably much longer.

    2) If you want my bit of onanism – a two question referendum:
    1) Do you support the deal
    2) If the deal is rejected do you think the UK should remain in the EU or leave without a deal

    Gets you a clear answer and is simple to run. Also there is precedent for a two question referendum in the 1997 scottish referendum.

  • John Marriott 13th Aug '18 - 8:25pm

    @OnceALibDem
    “Pure onanism” heh? Given the derivation of the word I’m not sure it’s really appropriate in this case. Actually, I quite like your ‘options’. Despite your reservations about the feasibility of such a move, surely, it’s about time we prepared ourselves for any eventuality, isn’t it?

  • Peter Reisdorf 14th Aug '18 - 12:40am

    The full details down to constituency level are on this map: https://www.bestforbritain.org/map. Click on the individual constituency to get the details.

  • Robin Grayson 14th Aug '18 - 12:36pm

    HERE IS THE LIST OF CONSTITUENCIES:
    here is the primary source of the Remain estimates.
    https://www.bestforbritain.org/map
    In NW England, there is a huge shift to Remain by many Labour-facing seats, but Conservative-facing seats show relatively little shift.
    (Referendum in brackets)
    A STAR * FOR EACH FULL PERCENTAGE POINT SWING (check!)
    NW TOP FIVE REMAIN SEATS
    77.4% (73.7) ***MANCHESTER WITHINGTON
    75.8% (73.1) **LIVERPOOL RIVERSIDE
    68.9% (64.2) ****LIVERPOOL WAVERTREE
    68.4% (63.3) *****MANCHESTER CENTRAL
    68.0% (62.1) ******MANCHESTER GORTON
    NW TOP TWELVE SWINGS TO REMAIN
    61.0% (47.6) **************KNOWSLEY
    60.5% (46.2) **************LIVERPOOL WALTON
    60.5% (51.5) *********STRETFORD & URMSTON
    60.0% (49.7) **********LIVERPOOL WEST DERBY
    59.0% (48.7) *********BLACKLEY & BROUGHTON
    55.1% (46.4) ***********SALFORD & ECCLES
    51.3% (38.7) ************OLDHAM WEST & ROYTON
    51.1% (40.7) ***********STALYBRIDGE & HYDE
    49.8% (39.0) **********DENTON & REDDISH
    47.8% (37.3) **********WIGAN
    46.0% (35.0) ***********MAKERFIELD
    45.4% (33.4) ***********BURNLEY
    43.7% (33.1) **********BLACKPOOL NORTH
    NW ALL BREXIT SWINGS
    53.0% (54.2) TATTON (BREXIT UP 1.2)
    NW BOTTOM FIVE REMAIN SEATS
    44.2% (40.2) **COPELAND
    43.7% (33.1) **********BLACKPOOL NORTH
    42.8% (37.6) *****HEYWOOD & MIDDLETON
    41.9% (34.2) *******HYNDBURN
    41.8% (32.2) *********BLACKPOOL SOUTH

  • John Marriott 12th Aug ’18 – 1:03pm:
    So, what about the 28% or so who didn’t vote at all? Could we assume that they didn’t care either way, or could we assume that they were more or less in favour of remaining?

    Since the normal state of affairs for the vast majority of countries the World over is to be an independent sovereign nation we could just as well assume they expected us to reclaim our independence. We shouldn’t assume anything. The Referendum was a binary choice with a simple majority held in accordance with the European Commission for Democracy Through Law (Venice Commission) agreed Code of Good Practice on Referendums (apart from the £9.4 million of public funds spent by the government for campaigning purposes).

    The government is currently trying on our behalf to do a deal with the EU, as the referendum required them to do; but it’s not going very smoothly, is it?

    The referendum did not require the government to do a deal. The vote to Leave the EU was not contingent on agreeing a deal of any sort. If we don’t agree a deal we leave anyway. It was suggested by some that we should be able to conclude a mutually beneficial Free Trade Agreement, but that presupposes a co-operative EU and a competent UK government. Currently, we have neither.

    But, as Jess Phillips MP said the other week on ‘Any Questions?’, we decided to leave them, so, why should they want to do us any favours?

    Why indeed? Especially when Jean Claude Juncker said before the referendum we would not “be handled gently”. It was entirely predictable that the EU would seek to punish us to deter others from leaving. Yanis Varoufakis, the former Greek Finance Minister, told us how they would behave. So why did we allow them to set the agenda? We should have taken back control from the start and told them how we are going to leave. It’s not too late. We need a reboot.

    ‘A Modest Proposal for Brexit: Turning the tables on the EU’ [August 2018]:
    https://reaction.life/modest-proposal-brexit-turning-tables-eu/

    …it is time to seriously examine an alternative strategy to the failed process of piecemeal capitulation the UK has engaged in over the last 18 months.

  • John Marriott 12th Aug ’18 – 1:03pm:
    As a pragmatic ‘remainer’, who can see the economic advantage (even necessity) of staying…

    A comparative analysis of growth in exports to the EU does not support that contention…

    ‘A World Trade Deal under WTO rules is now the best option for the UK’ [August 2018]:
    https://brexitcentral.com/world-trade-deal-wto-rules-now-best-option-uk/

    IMF-DOTS allows one to do this fairly quickly. It shows that of the 22 of the largest value goods exporters to the EU12 over the years 1993-2015, 15 were trading as most favoured nations under WTO rules, (or GATT until 1995), and seven under some kind of bilateral agreement. The former, trading under the worst possible option, grew by 135% over the period and the latter by 107%. More importantly, they grew almost twice as much as the supposed best possible option of exports of the 12 founder members to each other, which grew by only 70%, and four times more than UK exports to the other eleven, which grew by 25%.

    How can trading with the EU under WTO rules be the worst possible option when the exports to the EU of 15 countries which have been doing just that over 23 years of the Single Market have grown four times as much as those of the UK, despite all the tariff and non-tariff barriers they have faced? These 15 include China, which no doubt helps to explain why the aggregate growth differential is so large, but they also include the US with growth of 68%, which is almost the same as frictionless trade of the 12 founder members to each other, and well over twice as much as the frictionless trade of the UK to the other 11. In any case, a second study, excluding China, found the growth rate of the 14 WTO exporters to the EU12 was almost double that of the UK.

    If trading under WTO rules was such a bad option, one would also expect those UK exporters which currently trade under them to demonstrate the disadvantages. Over the years 1993-2015, UK exports of goods to 111 countries under these rules grew at a CAGR of 2.88%, while those to 62 countries which had some kind of trade agreement with the EU grew at 1.82% while those to the EU14 which were frictionless of course and for which the UK paid a considerable sum, grew at just 0.91%.

  • David Raw 14th Aug ’18 – 5:04pm:
    Come off it, Jeff. Be a bit more transparent about who you are. No need to be shy. Tell us who you are and who you represent…………..

    I just represent myself. I am not now, nor have I ever been a member of any political party. I have not voted in any election for at least 25 years. I did register for and vote in the EU Referendum (as I always said I would). I am opposed to those who seek to annul my vote and destroy our democracy.

    You re-produce a ‘comparative analysis’ like Moses bringing down the commandments from the mountain top on tablets of stone – when in fact it’s a cut and paste job from the Brexitcentral website run by the hard line Brexiteers.

    BrexitCentral is just a publisher. The article is written by Michael Burrage who is a member of Economists for Free Trade and a Senior Research Fellow at Civitas. The trade figures I quoted have been extracted from the IMF’s Direction of Trade Statistics (DOTS) database:
    https://www.imf.org/en/Data

    Now, how about some transparency with the opinion poll discussed in this thread? Who finances the organisation that commissioned it and why?

  • Arnold Kiel 14th Aug '18 - 8:14pm

    Jeff,

    Ever heard of the term base-effect? A small amount can easily grow faster than a large one. The large amount still matters more. But Britons pay their rent or mortgage and their groceries in pounds and pennies, not %.

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