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‘Brexit’ Is Looking More Likely

Tom Goodenough points [1] to new polling that shows the Leave side leading the EU referendum in the U.K.:

If the polls this morning are anything to go by, the momentum for Brexit is building: an ITV poll for Good Morning Britain shows 45 per cent of voters planning on voting out, compared to 41 per cent who wanted the UK to remain in the EU. The poll is significant because it shows that in the purdah period in the final run-up to the referendum on June 23rd, the ‘Leave’ campaign’s support is growing. What’s more, a separate poll survey by TNS showed ‘Leave’ on 43 per cent compared to 41 per cent backing ‘Remain’.

He mentions later that a third poll from ICM shows Leave leading 48-43%. These are small leads, and they may not last, but they do show that the Leave campaign has gained in recent weeks. Supporters of exiting the EU have a small chance of prevailing two and a half weeks from now. The conventional wisdom is that on votes like this undecided voters tend to break for the status quo option, but so far that doesn’t seem to be the case. Remain may end up pulling ahead as the referendum draws closer, but for the moment the opposite appear to be happening. The Leave campaign has to be encouraged that its message seems to be having more appeal than Cameron’s desperate [2] fear-mongering [3], but there is also the danger that this polling lead for Leave will mobilize Remain supporters that might have otherwise not voted. Both campaigns assume that low turnout will benefit the more motivated supporters of “Brexit,” and polls showing that Leave really could win will probably drive up turnout. The news that Leave is succeeding could end up causing them to lose. Even so, Leave is in a better position than they were earlier this spring, and Cameron and his allies have to start worrying that they have failed.

Personally, I am hoping that the Remain campaign loses. The EU is famously lacking in democratic accountability. If the only way to hold its institutions and leaders in check is by the threat of leaving, at some point one or more of its members has to make good on the threat to leave. Whatever the short-term economic disruption of withdrawing from the EU may be (and I assume there will be some), the case for leaving has always been a political one concerned with the ability of the governed to hold their government to account for what it does. British voters can’t fully do that right now as part of the EU. The Remain campaign has had to resort to constant fear-mongering because it cannot make a positive case for staying a part of a dysfunctional transnational organization for which almost no one feels any real loyalty or affection, and so it has to conjure up nightmare scenarios to frighten voters to their side.

Whatever the result is on June 23, the U.S. should aim to maintain good relations with the U.K. If Britain votes to leave, the U.S. should do what it can within reason to help make the transition easier, and we should do so in recognition that our relationship with the U.K. is a long, well-established, and close one that long predates the EU.

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24 Comments To "‘Brexit’ Is Looking More Likely"

#1 Comment By Kurt Gayle On June 6, 2016 @ 10:25 am

I agree with you, Daniel: “Whatever the short-term economic disruption of withdrawing from the EU may be (and I assume there will be some), the case for leaving has always been a political one concerned with the ability of the governed to hold their government to account for what it does. British voters can’t fully do that right now as part of the EU.”

I hope that the British public will disregard the Remain-side fear-mongering and vote to Leave – thereby beginning the process of returning to the British public the ability “to hold their government to account for what it does.”

Judging from the British public’s reaction to Obama’s April visit to Britain and his blatant intervention on behalf of the Remain side, I’m hoping that Obama will make a last-minute return trip to the UK to campaign again for Remain.

The Daily Mail (April 28th): “Barack Obama failed to persuade British voters to stay in the EU with his controversial intervention last week, a poll revealed today. The US President…warned that Britain would be at the ‘back of the queue’ in any trade deal with the US after a Brexit vote. David Cameron hoped the intervention would be decisive in the EU debate but a YouGov poll conducted on Monday and Tuesday found that the Brexit campaign has jumped three points since the last poll two weeks ago. It backs up other polls that suggested voters are rejecting Mr Obama’s strongly-worded warning of the consequences of Brexit.”

#2 Comment By the the On June 6, 2016 @ 11:06 am

Its too late for Britain. The demographic timebomb is already set in motion. Britain is a zombie at this point, it just doesn’t know it. In 20 years we will look back and wonder what Britain was like back when it was a liberal democratic society rather than a Shariah governed theocracy.

#3 Comment By Omnia Gallia On June 6, 2016 @ 11:14 am

The Brexit vote will be yet another index of the growth in anger at elite corruption and incompetence since the last British elections.

Brexit may or may not happen – sometimes things plateau, as they did here in the US after the Tea Party appeared in 2010 – but the tendency is clear and welcome.

That said, I side with Remain. As an American I’d rather deal with a stable, reconciled, unified Europe. Germany, Britain, and France must be anchored in Europe. If Britain leaves Europe it is unlikely Germany and France can hold it together, and the vicious cycles of European history could resume. Worse, if Britain leaves, it would inevitably try to enlist in the ranks of US client states, and become at least as big a pest, burden, and all-round threat to our security as Israel.

#4 Comment By Mr. Libertarian On June 6, 2016 @ 11:43 am

I think you have to understand the immigration angle here. UKIP, Farage, and Leave, are all emphasizing Britain going towards an Australian-style points-based immigration system. That and you the legitimate concerns regarding the EU’s one time wanting to give visa-free travel rights to Turkey and Turkey’s duplicitous relationship with the migrant crisis and the the war in the Levant.

#5 Comment By Randal On June 6, 2016 @ 12:05 pm

Omnia Gallia says:

That said, I side with Remain. As an American I’d rather deal with a stable, reconciled, unified Europe.

That’s fine, you are entitled to your opinion. As a Brit, I prefer to retain my national sovereignty while there’s still a chance of doing so. Something the inhabitants of your state of Virginia, and others, found was more easily given up than retrieved, when soldiers of the new superstate they’d signed up for came to butcher their grandchildren for trying to do so.

Worse, if Britain leaves, it would inevitably try to enlist in the ranks of US client states, and become at least as big a pest, burden, and all-round threat to our security as Israel.

Since Britain isn’t an aggressive, settler colonial, ethno-religious state planted in the middle of hostile territory and actively seeking to expand into areas under military occupation, there’s no obvious reason why that should be the case. Sadly Britain will probably just continue to be the subservient client state for Washington it has become, under its modern trans-national and treasonous elites.

#6 Comment By Kurt Gayle On June 6, 2016 @ 1:14 pm

“As a Brit, I prefer to retain my national sovereignty while there’s still a chance of doing so. Something the inhabitants of your state of Virginia, and others, found was more easily given up than retrieved, when soldiers of the new superstate they’d signed up for came to butcher their grandchildren for trying to do so.”

Thank you! As a Brit you understand 1861 more clearly than most Americans.

#7 Comment By grumpy realist On June 6, 2016 @ 1:44 pm

Don’t be surprised if Scotland then votes to stay in the EU, guys….

(I doubt the Welsh will vote to go anywhere. The English have already provided them with Welsh road signs and TV programs, which seems to have been all that they were bitching about.)

#8 Comment By Philipp On June 6, 2016 @ 2:45 pm

Grumpy realist:

The Scots cannot vote to stay in the EU after a Brexit has taken place. If the UK leaves, then all of it is out. Even if the Scottish nationalists then wins a second independence referendum, Scotland as a new, indepenent state would have to apply to join the EU. It would have to accept the EU and adopt all 20,000 laws of the common acquis.

#9 Comment By Philipp On June 6, 2016 @ 2:47 pm

Correction:

… it would have to accept the Euro…

#10 Comment By Callum On June 6, 2016 @ 3:34 pm

Agreed that the EU is not very accountable- but neither is Westminster and I’ve yet to see evidence that Westminster will be more so once Brexit happens.

If it’s purely related to size of the area governed, it is worth remembering that there is nothing intrinsically more democratic about different population sizes. My sense is that the EU is far more susceptible to democratic reform than Westminster (see the house of lords, the queen etc.)

Finally this has nothing to do with sovereignty. If we were not sovereign we would not be having the referendum, or the result would be ignored (which it won’t be).

#11 Comment By liberal On June 6, 2016 @ 4:08 pm

Randal wrote,

Something the inhabitants of your state of Virginia, and others, found was more easily given up than retrieved, when soldiers of the new superstate they’d signed up for came to butcher their grandchildren for trying to do so.

Uh, that leaves some inhabitants of Virginia out of the picture. Of course, they had the wrong skin color, so who cares about them?

#12 Comment By El Alcázar On June 6, 2016 @ 6:27 pm

Callum wrote,

“Finally this has nothing to do with sovereignty. If we were not sovereign we would not be having the referendum, or the result would be ignored (which it won’t be).”

That’s a very short-sighted perspective. The EU is slowly but surely eroding your culture, and the culture of each of its member-states. If you don’t leave, the unrestricted immigration and the insane bureaucratic regulations (such as the one about the types of tea kettles that can be sold, or the attempt to outlaw the production of homemade moonshine (which I suspect impacts Portugal more than Britain), or the urging that Spain exhume the remains of Francisco Franco from the Valle de los Caídos). Already there are areas in France and in Belgium where police officers dare not venture. These areas are dominated by Muslims, who live in their own enclaves. Wake up.

Now, to be fair, Britain does not have it as bad as the other EU member states. English is the most prestigious and widely spoken language in the world, and your leaders were smart enough to reject the Euro. But this question is far bigger than Britain. If you guys leave, other countries will soon leave — and thereby have a chance of saving their identity.

Vote Leave — Richard the Lionheart, Joan of Arc, El Cid, Dom Afonso Henriques, Garibaldi, etc. are watching you from upstairs.

Now,

#13 Comment By El Alcázar On June 6, 2016 @ 6:34 pm

Omnia Gallia wrote:

“That said, I side with Remain. As an American I’d rather deal with a stable, reconciled, unified Europe.”

True, European nations today enjoy peaceable relations for years. But that’s been so since the end of World War II. The EU as we know it today only began in 1992. Now, maybe the EC deserves some credit for the peace of Europe. That’s fine; bring back the EC, then. At least EC member states enjoyed far more sovreignty than EU member states do today.

In short, there’s no reason why Europe can’t preserve its peace by keeping what works and discarding what unduly restrains and erodes the sovereignty of its peoples.

#14 Comment By El Alcázar On June 6, 2016 @ 6:36 pm

One last comment, Mr. Larison, and then I’m done with this thread.

Randal wrote: “Since Britain isn’t an aggressive, settler colonial, ethno-religious state planted in the middle of hostile territory and actively seeking to expand into areas under military occupation, there’s no obvious reason why that should be the case.”

Well… There IS the matter of Gilbraltar, and of the Malvinas Islands…

#15 Comment By Dominique On June 7, 2016 @ 1:34 am

El Alcázar wrote: “The EU is slowly but surely eroding your culture, and the culture of each of its member-states.”

The EU isn’t making us watch Netflix and listen to Justin Bieber -or whatever-.

#16 Comment By Danny K. On June 7, 2016 @ 2:47 am

The bloc that makes the most sense is the five or six countries of the Anglosphere: USA, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and maybe Ireland. (Though I think Ireland would probably prefer to stay with the EU.)

These nations have a common history, common values, a common legal system and a common approach to Human Rights and property rights. The only incompatibilities I see is the fact that these countries are more liberal than the USA, some use the metric system and some drive on the left side of the road.

Throw in the US and British possessions such as the Virgin Islands and Bermuda, and former colonies alike Belize and you have something that makes so much sense that I can’t understand why it hasn’t been thought of before.

#17 Comment By Randal On June 7, 2016 @ 3:37 am

El Alcázar says:

Well… There IS the matter of Gilbraltar, and of the Malvinas Islands…

Since neither of those two (assuming by “Malvinas” you mean the Falkland Islands, since Malvinas as a name is even more futilely dishonest than calling Texas and California Republica del Norte or Aztlan) bear the remotest relevant comparison with Israel’s situation and behaviour, I’m not sure what point you think you are making with these references.

#18 Comment By Colm J On June 7, 2016 @ 4:54 am

In the normal way I’d be all for any country leaving the EU – especially a big country like Britain, the departure of which might be expected to significantly undermine the whole project. However the issue is complicated by the fact that many of the most prominent Brexiters (Michael Gove, Liam Fox, Toby Young, Charles Moore, Rupert Murdoch, the Telegraph, etc.,) are unabashed champions of Neocon globalism. This raises suspicions that the real purpose of the referendum is not to weaken, much less destroy, the globalist trend of the EU, but rather to exacerbate it, by giving the Neoconservative dominated British government greatly enhanced bargaining power in post-referendum negotiations. “Reform of the EU” in this context will probably mean even more power for the TTIP-ers and liberal interventionists.

#19 Comment By sherparick On June 7, 2016 @ 9:27 am

I would agree that if the “Leave” were making an argument based on democratic accountability, something the EU sorely lacks, BREXIT would be a no brainer. Unfortunately, that is not what is driving the argument, but rather racism and xenophobia, and the Cameron/Osborne Government is being hoisted on its own petard for pandering and using immigrants as the scapegoat for the declining living standards of most British people the last 8 years. (I would not that most of the immigrants now who are source of complaint come from Poland and Romania, not old Empire or as Middle Eastern refugees.) A knock on effect of England’s exit will be an excuse for Scotland to revisit Independence and also Northern Ireland to reunify with the South as both places are much more pro-EU then England. It will be interesting to see how popular the BREXITers will be after 5 years as Edinburgh, Amsterdam, and Dublin become rival financial centers to London and English people need a VISA every time they want to go Spain or Scotland for holiday.

#20 Comment By Randal On June 7, 2016 @ 11:12 am

However the issue is complicated by the fact that many of the most prominent Brexiters (Michael Gove, Liam Fox, Toby Young, Charles Moore, Rupert Murdoch, the Telegraph, etc.,) are unabashed champions of Neocon globalism. This raises suspicions that the real purpose of the referendum is not to weaken, much less destroy, the globalist trend of the EU, but rather to exacerbate it, by giving the Neoconservative dominated British government greatly enhanced bargaining power in post-referendum negotiations. “Reform of the EU” in this context will probably mean even more power for the TTIP-ers and liberal interventionists.

This is true, but nevertheless one can only support what is right and hope that the neocon globalists to whom you refer are overestimating their own side’s powers.

I believe this referendum will fail to achieve escape from the oncoming United States of Europe, albeit it’s looking closer than I expected. I believe it was intended to fail, as you would expect of a referendum called when the leaderships of all the main parliamentary parties favour one side. If they really thought there were any risk of it succeeding I do not believe Cameron would have called it, no matter the political pressures on him, and nor would Boris Johnson (an ardent globalist) have embraced the Leave camp. (Johnson expects his side to lose, but for him to achieve leadership status amongst his party’s Leave-supporting rank and file, giving him prime position to succeed Cameron).

I suspect these establishment figures have been rather surprised by the strength of the Leave campaign, which has been based in some part on the same anti-establishment tide as has floated Trump’s boat in the US. The same national sovereignty versus globalism issue underpins both campaigns. As I said, though, in the end I hope for a Leave win, but expect a Remain win.

Regardless, as has proved to be the case with the Scottish referendum recently, a defeat for the right side will be merely the end of the beginning of the struggle, not the end of the fight for British sovereignty.

#21 Comment By Mike E On June 7, 2016 @ 12:42 pm

Well, of course our relationship with Britain predates our relationship with much of Europe. The Brits ran this country for quite a while. But don’t let’s forget our relationship with France — like, at Yorktown?

This whole “special relationship” thing has always been an excuse for a bunch of Anglophiles to drag us into European wars. Much as I abhor Tel Aviv’s domination of US foreign policy, our “special relationship” with London has dragged us into far more devastating wars than Tel Aviv ever has.

I’m personally hoping for Brexit, but that’s because of the damaging effect it might have on NATO, which most all of us would agree should have been dissolved with the end of the Cold War. But there’s no reason for us to get slobbery over some “special relationship” with London just because of Brexit.

#22 Comment By Colm J On June 7, 2016 @ 1:39 pm

Randal: I agree with what you say. I don’t trust many of the Neocon Brexiters, but if I had a vote in this referendum, which I don’t, I’d vote to leave.

#23 Comment By Peter On June 8, 2016 @ 3:32 am

“Britain does not have it as bad as the other EU member states. English is the most prestigious and widely spoken language in the world, and your leaders were smart enough to reject the Euro.”

Many of our leaders at the time – eg Tony Blair – were desperate to join, and it was much more down to the wisdom of Rupert Murdoch, the tabloid press and then deeply unpopular Conservative Party that we didn’t. Towards the end of the 1990s, many British elites spoke about opponents of the euro the way American elites speak about opponents of an amnesty for 12 million Mexican citizens. It was a pretty unpleasant experience even to make economic arguments against the single currency.

#24 Comment By Fred Bowman On June 8, 2016 @ 7:03 pm

I side with the Brits that want to leave the EU. Only wish that the US would do the same thing about leaving NATO. It’s way past time for the US to start taking care of things here in the states, then running around trying to solve all the world’s problems.