Wednesday, March 14, 2012

YouGov: Fearing the Tumbrils?

There is something almost ancien regieme about the YouGov-Cambridge event at the British Academy tomorrow. A whole bunch of media/political/business panjandrums are gathering to discuss a general "Whither Britain's relationship with the EU". Here is a list of them,
Speakers include: Rt Hon Frances Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office; Rt Hon Alistair Darling, Labour MP and former UK Chancellor of the Exchequer; John Humphrys, Presenter, BBC Radio 4 Today Programme; Polly Toynbee, Guardian columnist; Sir Roger Carr, President, CBI; Jim O’Neill, Chairman, Goldman Sachs Asset Management and author of the BRIC term; Sir Win Bischoff, Chairman, Lloyds Banking Group plc; Lord Wood, Senior Advisor to Ed Miliband and Shadow Cabinet Minister Without Portfolio; Rt Hon John Redwood, Conservative MP and Chairman of the Economic Competitiveness Policy Group; Rt Hon Bernard Jenkin, Conservative MP and Chairman, House of Commons Public Administration Select Committee; Lord Glasman, Labour peer; Declan Ganley, Chairman and CEO, Ganley Group of Companies; Alex Ellis, Director of Strategy, UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Georges Ugeux, CEO of Galileo Global Advisors and former Vice President of the New York Stock Exchange; Louise Cooper, Senior Markets Analyst, BGC; Professor Andrew Gamble, Head of Politics and International Studies, Cambridge University; Dr Linda Yueh, Economics Editor, Bloomberg TV &; Fellow in Economics, Oxford University, and others…
It is based upon the research released a couple of days ago which came up with some figures that must worry them, but are so bleedingly obvious one wonders why anybody paid for it.

What did the study discover?
♦ Brits call for a major revision of the UK’s relationship with Europe

♦ Eurozone and Britain heading in 2 starkly different directions, with a majority of people in France, Germany and Italy wanting more integration – and even in some cases a fully federalised “United States of Europe”

♦ The dynamics of German public opinion threaten a break-up of the Eurozone, with significant opposition to a greater crisis-fighting role for Germany and the ECB
Jeepers, no not that.
♦ 60% of Brits want a national referendum to decide on Britain’s relationship with the EU (v. 19% who don’t).

♦ 60% want a looser relationship with the EU or to leave altogether, and to opt out EU-wide policies enforced from Brussels (v. 27% who want continued full membership or closer union).

♦ Only 14% want more integration with Europe and a further 13% want to keep things as they are with Britain as a full EU member.
And there is more
A majority of Brits want national control of almost all policy-areas:

♦ Including, among others, immigration (79%),agriculture (74%), trade links with other countries (60%), financial regulation (68%), rights for workers (66%), deciding laws on trade unions/strikes (80%) and crime and justice (85%).
Weirdly they pick on the Lib/Dems to illustrate how out of touch on this subject the political elite are (the ones who are speaking at the conference remember)
Nick Clegg is out of step with a significant majority of his own party:

♦ Half of Lib Dem voters want a looser relationship with the EU or outright withdrawal.

♦ National versus European control shares similar support for most major policy areas among Lib Dem voters (including immigration (70% of Lib Dems), trade links with other countries (51% of Lib Dems), rights for workers, (50% of Lib Dems), tax rates and national budgets (91% of Lib Dems), crime and justice (81% of Lib Dems), agriculture (77% of Lib Dems) and deciding laws on trade unions and strikes (74% of Lib Dems).
One figure they don't highlight in the summary is this,
In order to make the EU less integrated, a new treaty will be needed. Other countries might well use their veto to block such a change. Suppose SURVEY COUNTRY then had to decide whether to pull out of the EU altogether or to remain a member of the EU as it is, which option would you support?
The answers to this are instructive (p2). Essentially if pushed to make an in/out decision Britain currently says,
SURVEY COUNTRY should pull out of the EU 53%
SURVEY COUNTRY should remain a member of the EU 32%
Don’t know 15%
So what we have is a clear, absolute majority supporting the UKIP position, both on wishing to rejig to a pure free trade zone, but if necessary to leave forthwith.

And which party isn't invited to tomorrow's event, neither to provide a speaker, nor even to send a delegate. Yup you guessed it, UKIP.

How will these people ever understand the wishes of the people of this country, if they will not engage with those who speak for them on this issue? Nobody in the entire conference is a withdrawalist, there are a few Eurosceptics there, but nobody who, hand on heart will say publicly that the UK should leave.

Obviously to speak up for the majority is somehow below the salt. If they let us in, it would be as if they had invited a foul pestilent stench of reality into the room.

I note that Goldman Sachs is well represented, and this is being organised by Cathy Ashton's husband, the boss of YouGov Peter Kellner, with a media partner in DGFT.

They see the sans-cullottes walking past their windows, they know they are out there, but they just cannot force themselves to bring them into the room. Do they see intimations of the tumbril?


WitteringsfromWitney said...

"there are a few Eurosceptics their, but nobody who, hand on heart will say publicly that the UK should leave."

Their and there? Sorry, can be a bit of a pedant.......

Seriously, damn good post to which I will link.

Gawain Towler said...


Anonymous said...

anyone left a comment on the event's web-page? I appear to be the only one, and my comment is 'awaiting moderation'. Given that I questioned the lack of withdrawalist speakers, I doubt it'll get past the moderators...

Gawain Towler said...

I am considering rocking up, the other option is to bombard their twitter stream with the question.