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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Too much explanation

The Government’s present strategy on Europe (other than praying that whole issue of the Constitution will somehow disappear) has largely focussed on trying to "explain the benefits” of the EU to a reluctant British electorate

Their PR people will certainly have their work cut out for them. The FT/ Harris poll, released yesterday suggested that by 41% to 25%, UK voters think Britain would be better off outside the EU, while 51% think life has got worse since joining.

One shed of comfort which the pro-euro camp have clung to is the rather patronising idea that idea that when people "know more" they will become raving supporters of a federal Europe.

However, the FT’s debate last night (on the motion “Thank God for Brussels”) suggests that the more people see of the EU, the less they like.

Date March 19, 2007
Votes Online
For 40.0% 52.6% 55.0%
Against 57.5% 27.6% 45.0%
2.5% 19.8% 0.0%

In a vote at the beginning of the debate, 52.6% supported the motion, 27.6% voted against, and 19.8% were undecided (this is an FT event, remember). However, by the end, the ‘undecideds’ had emphatically shifted against the motion, with 55% voting in favour and 45% against. In other words, the EU critics picked up nearly all of the undecided voters. Perhaps too much “explanation” of the reality of the EU doesn't help the ‘project’ much.

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