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Monday, July 09, 2012

What a difference the question makes

Today's YouGov/Sun poll provides fascinating reading.

When asked "Do you think David Cameron should or should not set out a timetable of what sort of powers he hopes to bring back from the EU and when he will be able to deliver on that?" 63% of voters said he should, 24% said he should not, and 13% were undecided.

On the question of a referendum, 67% support having a referendum on "Britain's relationship with Europe within the next few years", 19% do not and 14% don't know.

But here's the crucial thing: the potential referendum question. If voters are only given the choice between in or out, 48% would vote to leave, 31% to stay in, 4% would not vote and 17% said they were undecided.

However, when asked the following question, "Imagine the British Government under David Cameron renegotiated our relationship with Europe, said that Britain's interests were now protected and recommended that Britain remain a member of the European Union on the new terms. How would you then vote in a referendum on the issue?"

42% would vote to remain in the EU on the new terms, 34% would still vote to leave, 5% would not vote and 19% are undecided.

The evidence therefore suggests that an in/out referendum would deny a huge portion of the British people their preferred choice.

As we have long argued, an in/out referendum also does not provide an answer to the question "what type of relationship do you want with Europe?" In or Out there will still need to be negotiation because access to the EU market remains a must for the UK. Going for the 'Norwegian' option, for example, would basically be just as much inside the EU as the current arrangement (but without a say over the laws).

Incidentally, the Sun comes out backing renegotiation and a referendum now - hinting that, should this fail, the UK ought to leave altogether.

Clearly, there's momentum building for renegotiation.


Bugsy said...

These are todays figures. Others show different results. The fact that a portion, not necessarily large, even on these figures want a renegotiated position does mean that the renegotiation would suit them. When will they be asked what they want? Will Europe be prepared to give these specific things to them? Are their needs regional and therefore widely different?

IN/OUT is clear a negotiated settlement is not likely to satisfy all of those who want it.

Ray said...

A renegotiation deal wouldn't change anything in the long run, it would be less than wanted to start with, and would be further weakened over time, eventually being completely forgotten. No, to get anything like the real deal we want, we need to come out, and renegotiate from a position of strength. They are more worried about us actually leaving than we are allowed to know, and from outside we can really squeeze out the deal we want. Or go our own way with the Anglosphere and the Commonwealth which will be better for us in the long run, Europe is too corrupt and criminal for a realistic long term relationship.

Gawain Towler said...

Silly, an In/Out does rather make it clear what sort of relationship we want with the EU, in the event of an Out vote.

However, if Mr Cameron were to arrive back from Brussels, waving a piece of paper, announcing a derogation from the Widgets Directive (COM/252/12) and a recommendation to vote yes to accept this new, radically changed relationship it will not wash.

After all one part of that Sun poll is missed out in your analysis, 63% do not trust him.

Average Englishman said...

Your option 2 starts with the word 'imagine' and that's about right; I have more chance of winning the Euro Lottery than David Cameron has of negotiating a partial withdrawal of the UK from the EU that would now satisfy the UK voters.

What the people of the UK voted for was a Common Market, nothing more. If Cameron can give this to the UK (being what the vast majority of the people originally expected) then fine but it is disingenuous of you to imply that this could actually happen. The Euro-fanatics in Brussels want a United States of Europe (or more correctly, an EUSSR) that they can run without due democratic influence from the people of Europe and there is no chance that any sort of half way arrangement for the UK could be sensibly agreed with them.

Even if the UK people are given another bag of lies to vote on and by some ghastly chance they should decide to stay in the EU on changed terms the matter would not end there. The desire from the 34% you quote who would want to leave anyway would get stronger and harder to contain and their numbers would increase over time. Also, the old Leopard of the EU would not change its spots over night and would only plot away to drag the UK back into 'full' membership (that is, full undemocratic control) over time. The end result would be a classic 'kicking the can down the road' by the Eurocrats but in the end, the final result would be the same; the UK would leave.
It would be better for all concerned for the UK to have a straight and proper 'in-out' vote now and have done with the matter. If the UK were to leave the EU the British Isles would not suddenly disengage from Europe and float out to sea. Trade would continue but the undemocratic laws from Brussels that now affect the UK would not and the cash drain on the UK tax payer would also stop.

I get on well with my next door neighbour but I have no desire nor need to share my bank account with them. As the Germans are now finally discovering in relation to Greece et al, it's not such a clever idea really and is more likely to start a war than stop one.
So, Mr. Cameron if you want to stay Prime Minister for more than five minutes listen to your electorate and let's have a proper 'in-out' vote.

christhai said...

What about unless total powers related to

Political Freedom

are retained by the UK - then the UK should leave the EU.

Anonymous said...

More and more Open Europe is revealing itseld to be a Fifth Columnist, pro Eurofascist organization acting to prevent the vast majority of Brits doing what they want to do, and what needs to be done: leave the EUSSR.

Open Europe blog team said...

@ Gawain Towler


Clearly, the nature of the renegotiation and the outcome are crucial.

However, the Out option does not come ready-packaged, unless the UK is prepared to simply fall back on WTO rules and therefore face tariffs on many of its exports (and in all likelihood imports). In or out of the single market? In or out of the customs union? EEA? EFTA? A cob-web of new bilateral deals, including or excluding free movement?

If voters reject a renegotiated package, you would then have to look at why - the next question might well then be in/out...

Rollo said...

This analysis is false and follows the Cameron lies: 3,000,000 jobs depend... it is our interests to stay in... we need to negotiate to stay in the single market...
Rubbish. We have a MONTHLY trade deficit with the EU of 3.75 BILLION POUNDS. Norway and Switzerland export more to the EU per head than we do. The trade would stay as it is. But there is no single market. Try selling an aircraft hangar to France, for example (I have, and I failed, though we had the order from the French client).

Anonymous said...

I cannot see how there can be a half way house. Any sort of renegotiation would be immensely unpopular with the EU because they would see it as UK wanting to have her cake and eat it. They already have a downer on UK and will be afraid that other nations might wish to go down the same line as us and this would undermine their 'total integration of Europe' plan.

And no doubt the UK would still have to pay a blinding £54,000,000 a day to be a member - is the benefit worth that amount of commitmen? Does Open Europe think we would still have to be a net contributor to the EU in order to pay for the EU's salaries, resources and expenses as they go about forming political union?

Rik said...

Likely anyway reneg the EU is less work than all the paperwork required when the UK leaves the EU.
WTO doesnot look like an option (furthermore several important countries are not members thereof). You simply increase the price of all (or nearly all) your exports sometimes with considerable percentages. Lot of other stuff as well. Open Skies for instance how will that work out? Make it possible to make all trade in EU bonds and equity via London very difficult. Etc. Also on the import side. Basically all the dumped stuff will massively come into the UK (as the levies would be gone and new ones require timewaisting procedures).
Result more difficult to export and likely import problems as well.
It is much more difficult than just the UKs tradedeficit with the rest of the EU.

This looks to give an opener for Cameron. We have to see how serious he is. But a) he is not a complete idiot and will know that this is nearly impossible to avoid and b)it might be his only chance to win a next election. He simply cannot make a 180 in a day looks totally uncredible. So if he does and it starts to look like that it will be with little steps at the time.
Seen the fact that the LibDems are likely not pro he could even use them. Stating he cannot do it within this term and (implicitly) blaim Clegg. Who likely will react in a way that will confirm that anyway.
Would give him time to do a proper reneg. More technical as well so you get some proper legislation and not Euro-quality stuff. Also could make as little as possible noise on the Euro issue. Nobody gains when it ex- or implodes. Schadenfreude yes of course, but also economic damage when your most important tradepartner implodes.

Accessor said...

Before any talk of renegotiation please read Christopher Booker's comments at:-

Accessor said...

The important comments from Christopher Bookerare:
"The project’s core doctrine has always been the acquis communautaire: the rule that once powers are handed over to Brussels they can never be given back. That is why it is futile to talk of Britain negotiating a “new relationship” with Brussels involving repatriation of powers. It cannot happen, because it would be in breach of the project’s most sacred principle.
There is only one way in which we could force the other EU states into negotiating a new relationship for Britain. If our politicians, led by Mr Cameron, were actually to read the treaty, they would find this power under Article 50, inserted at Lisbon: such a negotiation can only be triggered if we notify the EU that we wish to leave it. Then, and only then, would our EU colleagues be compelled (rather than “persuaded”) to enter into the negotiations necessary to establish our “future relationship with the Union”"

Anonymous said...

We do not have to imagine how this would play as we have an actual example to show us.

Wilson claimed to have entered into negotiations and he reported material improvements have been achieved. Of course, nothing of the sort had been achieved but that did not stop him using the cash and influence of the state to push through a Yes to the stay-in question.

One could add the Major opt-outs: he said game set and match but actually it was meaningless.

Again, last December Cameron spun that he had used a veto over UK involvement in (errr, we don;'t exactly know what because the FCO will not release the detail under FOI requests). Actually we do know there was no veto and nothing concrete was on the table.

In short, no one would trust the political class so OUT is the best place to be.

Rollo said...

Every government since Heath has mentioned re-negotiation. None have achieved anything. The reason: the Acquis Communautaire was designed specificallly to make it impossible. Accept the EU, accept the ratchet. Get out of the EU, release the ratchet.

Rollo said...

63% of Sun readers do not trust Cameron! Astounding that 37% do not distrust him. Who are these 37%? What do they not understand about the meaning of 'trust'?
And how many would trust Clegg?

Bugsy said...

As usual Rollo straight to the point.

Christhai - you missed out fishing.

volvoman said...

I firmly believe that those UK Euro MP's who speak with great authority about the Masters in Brussels, should be more widely heard of and their opinions more widely espoused. Listen to the Chairman of the EDF and the Leader of the UKIP, Nigel Farage, and then come to an imformed opinion. Fifty Million Pounds per day paid by Our Government to Euroland, and I have to drive over massive potholes on a daily basis! Let us have some of that money which I contribute to through all kinds of taxes, even as an OAP!
Incidentally, I do not think that the newspaper espousing all this narrative about leaving the EU, as I recall many years ago, their Headline was, "YOU HAVE TO VOTE LABOUR" and see what that resulted in, years of mismanagement by government, so they do the leave the EU proposal sadly lacking in sincerity.

For my pennyworth, I don't trust Europe any more than my late father and grandfather did, and they participated in two world wars!

Bugsy said...

@ Open Europe blog team - with regard to trade.

It is complicated but why would countries like France and Germany, Japan, The USA etc seek to introduce tariffs? We buy their goods in greater numbers than they buy ours and they are aware that down that road lies a repeat of the troubles of the twenties.

Free trade should be the bedrock of any new relationship, with Europe and as a nonEU country, everybody else.

Rik said...

They donot introduce tradetariffs. The moment the UK leaves the EU, it is no longer covered by favourable EU trade agreements. Subsequently the UK is automatically seen as a country of the rest group with applicable rates for that group.
Subsequently the UK has to start negotiations for an own trade agreement.
Probably even worse than that. In some countries the UK will simply in Customs terms no longer exist and when local Customs donot know how to deal with it they likely simply hold the shipment. Same problems with certificates for say health and safety (a UK hobby I understand) issued by 'something' in the UK likely not considered valid anymore.
Simply nearly the whole legal framework for both imports and exports stops to exist, when the UK does an Euro-exit.

Open Europe blog team said...

Thanks Bugsy,

We agree free trade has the potential to benefit all sides so logically tariffs should be reduced. Tariffs have in fact been reduced over recent years via the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) various trade rounds, although issues such as agricultural subsidies and residual protectionism have slowed progress of late.

If the UK left the EU (a tariff free customs union), without a new trade agreement to fall back on, the tariff situation would governed by WTO rules. In that case our exports to the EU would be subject to Most Favoured Nation (MFN) tariffs. These levels are mostly low, but some are fairly high (cars say is set at 10%). In this case because the EU wishes to protect itself from car imports from Japan/China etc by imposing a 10% tariff it could not give the UK a lower rate.

We would therefore under WTO rules either have to live with the 10% rate for cars (and perhaps impose one the other way around), or seek a new trade deal with the EU. The EU’s trade surplus with the UK could well be a factor in reaching a new deal but reaching a new trade agreement would be complicated by other factors, including market access for services/financial services (governed by regulation rather than tariffs), the issue of free movement for UK/EU nationals, etc.

We apologise that this is a complicated answer – for more information please see our latest report “Trading Places” that explores some of this in more detail.

Bugsy said...

So to be clear - we are on WTO rules, therefore their exports to us are treated the same as ours to them.

Their trade to us exceeds our trade to them. Ergo they will be as keen as we to negotiate a deal similar to our current one.

Would being out affect our trade relations with other parties?

christina Speight said...

To Management!

Can we please have an end to "anonymous" postings. Anybody and everybody can use that simultaneously.

Surely the poster can choose a psudinym -0 Cuddles or Tough Gut - I don't mind.

Average Englishman said...

If the Open Europe Blog team are correct and the worst I could expect to find happening upon the exit of the UK from the EU is a 10% hike upon the cost of a new European car then the sooner we leave the better! I cannot afford a new car anyway because I am already too broke courtesy of paying for new Mercedes for Van Rompuy and his pals.

As per the comments of so many others on this blog I simply do not believe the dire consequences for the UK that are predicted by Euro-enthusiasts if we were to leave the EU. There would be a period of turbulence at transition but that would be a small price to pay for our future freedom of action.

The 'two speed Europe' being offered by some at the moment just means a slower walk of death by the UK economy into the European mire. that is just not acceptable.

Anonymous said...

We can remain friends with the EU, but we don't have to get into bed with them. You know what happens when you go to bed with someone? You end up getting....well getting the picture?
Who wants to be in a business arrangement where you are perpetually running at a loss? That is not good business sense in my book.
The whole thing is a Ponzi scheme.