Saturday, June 4, 2016
We haven't heard much about the Norwegian or Swiss options during the campaign, because both sides have good reason to avoid the topic. The Leave campaign's anti-immigrant pitch would be neutered if voters thought there was a fair chance we were going to end up with the halfway house of EEA membership, which would entail continued freedom of movement. And the Remain campaign don't want people to think they can safely vote Leave and still end up with an EU-lite option. But if and when the battle is actually lost for Remain, it would be perfectly within the rights of pro-Europeans within Labour and the Lib Dems (and possibly the Tories) to point out that Britain had been voting purely on the issue of EU membership, and hadn't expressed any sort of view yet on the EEA. The Leave side's counterargument would be that the campaign had been largely fought on the issue of immigration, and that in practice it was obvious Leave voters were expressing opposition to any relationship with Europe involving freedom of movement. I'm wondering if the tension between those two positions could lead us inexorably towards an EEA referendum at some point - especially if there is a change of government.
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Meanwhile, Charlie Jeffrey of Edinburgh University has suggested that an overall Remain vote in which Scotland tipped the balance might destabilise the unity of the UK. I must say I'm highly sceptical about that. The vast majority of anti-European MPs are obsessive unionists, and even though it'll frustrate them hugely not to be able to make more political capital out of an English vote for Leave, they'll know they can't go too far down that road without effectively arguing for the dissolution of the UK. The nutter tendency in the right-wing press won't have the same inhibitions, but I suspect the whingeing will be a seven-day wonder and then we'll all get back to normal.
The future of the UK certainly does hang in the balance on June 23rd - but the only outcome that would trigger any sort of meaningful crisis would be an overall Leave victory in which Scotland votes Remain.
Friday, June 3, 2016
For their EU question-and-answer session with Michael Gove, Sky somehow found a token Jock to bus down who was terribly worried about a Leave vote leading to a second "divisive" independence referendum. What a tedious thing to do. Regardless of which poll you believe, it's undoubtedly the case that a huge proportion of the Scottish electorate would be only too delighted to have a relatively early second referendum, so why not get one of those people to mess with Govey's head by asking which way we should vote on June 23rd to bring the next indyref closer?
The question asked may have been much duller than that, but Gove's answer was still fascinating. He said it wasn't the case that a vote to leave one union would cause Scotland to leave another union. But it was quite hard to understand WHY he thought it wouldn't have that effect, given that his arguments for Britain leaving the European Union were in some cases literally identical to the arguments for Scotland becoming an independent country - and I really do mean that Gove's words were directly lifted from our own Yes campaign.
"They say we're too small." Oooh, that sounds a bit like...? "Too poor." Just coincidence, surely? "Too stupid." It's the full house, folks! And he also shamelessly used Alex Salmond's familiar line about "losing a surly lodger and gaining a good neighbour".
The charitable interpretation is that Gove was privately moved and inspired by Scotland's struggle for self-determination and self-government, and has been biding his time until he could apply the same arguments in respect of the country he owes allegiance to (Greater England). A more cynical interpretation is that he's just stealing words that he reckoned had proved highly persuasive in another campaign. Either way, we're entitled to take enormous heart from that. Imitation remains the sincerest form of flattery.
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Leave 45% (+6)
Remain 44% (-1)
50/50 ONLINE/TELEPHONE AVERAGE :
ONLINE AVERAGE :
TELEPHONE AVERAGE :
Monday, May 30, 2016
Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union? (Definite voters only)
The Telegraph - who commissioned the poll - are of course spinning a yarn about how this apparently dramatic change in opinion came about (they're attributing it to new concerns over immigration). But given that the last ORB poll was totally out of kilter with most other polling evidence, I think it's more likely that we're just seeing a particularly extreme example of sampling variation, after a skew towards Remain in last week's sample led everyone astray. That would mean either that nothing much has changed, or that the swing to Leave is being greatly exaggerated by the direct comparison between the two polls.
Annoyingly, there still doesn't seem to be any definitive answer as to what constitutes the 'headline numbers' in an ORB phone poll. The Telegraph favour the turnout-filtered figures given above, but ORB themselves and the John Curtice site give the nod to the unfiltered numbers. For the first time, the Telegraph haven't even bothered to tell us what the unfiltered numbers are, so we'll have to wait until tomorrow to find out how much better they are for Remain (and on past form they probably will be at least somewhat better). I'll also wait until then to update this blog's Poll of Polls.