Polarisation around the issue of immigration makes this #EURef a ‘Plebiscite to Nowhere’…

The Sunday Telegraph/Adam Smith Institute YouGov poll is by far the most revealing poll about the EU so far. It’s not the slender lead for Brexit that’s the distinguishing features but the dilemma it reveals at the very heart of the Referendum question.  

Here’s some the key detail:

In essence a vote for Brexit speeds us on to a second question of what kind of Brexit (whatever the protests from those who claim otherwise this vital question was deliberately left unresolved). Now we’re getting that old familiar Sinn Fein saw Brexit is a process not an event from some unionist quarters who previously argued such a scenario was an affront to democracy. 

In its desperation to get ahead of Remain, Leave (it’s roughly neck and neck right now) has come  very close to making immigration the whole point of this referendum. You can see the effect of this in the very telling details of this survey:

It’s clear that some few Leave voters believe they can have both EU free trade and stop immigration, but it is very few. Most would prefer to cut all ties with Europe just to stop Immigration dead. The gross demagogic simplification of blaming a failing NHS on immigrants means that any Norwegian style compromise runs entirely against these hyped up expectations. 

It is a red herring that appears to have become the main dish on Leave’s menu. As Ben Murphy points out… 

We must “control our borders” they say, but this is an aspiration; not a policy in itself. The main factor preventing reductions in immigration is the lack of political will. There is plenty that we could do now to bring about meaningful reductions; abolishing free movement is not a cure-all remedy; it is nothing more than an elixir.

And as Rick notes…

“Migration is not a bug, it’s a feature. An international economy like Britain’s, containing one of the world’s major global cities, is bound to attract a lot of migrants. When compared to the size of its population, though, the UK’s migration flows are not especially high. They are similar to other large European economies and some way lower than those of Australia and Canada, the countries whose immigration systems the Leave campaigners say they want us to adopt.”

Yet, having built an appetite for it (with little if any focused or smart opposition from Remain it should be said), a vote for Brexit would likely trigger a second prolonged and heated debate on what kind of Brexit is actually on offer: making this poll little more than a ‘Plebiscite to Nowhere’. 

See item one in Paul Evans’ magnificent 101 on the shortcomings of referendums:

Referendums are often a framing exercise. We often don’t want either of the options we’re being asked to adopt, preferring one that isn’t on the ballot. Governments decide what the question is going to be anyway, and if they don’t like the answer that they get back, it can always become a never-end-um (see Ireland and the Lisbon Treaty).

Given the polarisation shown here, a second or even a third poll might be deemed necessary: raising the possibility that having looked at the actual choices on offer, of, rather lamely, choosing to retain the UK’s original EU membership. 

If nothing else it demonstrates a deep illiteracy amongst the UK’s elected elites when it comes to wielding one of the crudest instruments in the direct democracy arsenal (See Quintin Oliver’s guide to winning a Scottish Referendum). 

No one in Ireland calls one willingly, and when they do (like the marriage equality amendment to the Constitution) a lot of time research is spent of getting it right long before the starter pistol is fired. Nice and Lisbon were forced upon a government of the day which would have preferred to to have faced one.

At its most powerful point in the polls it’s also becoming clear that when it comes to future Leave across the board is more incline to say it doesn’t know what will follow an Out vote rather than allowing itself to have to explain why there’s no viable trade off between trade and immigration in the terms it needs to present to win this referendum.

  • Angry Mob

    Given that UK referendums are merely advisory and not binding; it doesn’t really matter what scenario the officially designated Vote Leave has put forward during the basis of their campaign. The important thing would be that the wishes of the people are respected and that leaving the political EU is seen through.

    I do however think that the official Vote Leave should of put forward a strong case for the Norway option as an interim solution as you can see from the survey there is strong support for that option. Remain MPs have already said that they will use their majority to keep us in the single market: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-36457120

  • Korhomme

    Would the EU club really readmit a member who had voluntarily left, even if on a sort of “associate” membership basis, particularly if the UK tries to cherry pick the good bits which are acceptable?

  • Angry Mob

    It wouldn’t be readmission to the EU, it would be readmission into the EFTA which retains our access to the EEA.

  • Jim M

    If there is a Leave result, MPs owe it to the electorate to push for a general election in the autumn. That should help settle the ‘what kind of Brexit’ question.

  • Nevin

    That final video needs a political health warning; it’s compiled by the ‘stronger in’ lobby.

    “.. by far the most revealing poll about the EU so far. It’s not the slender lead for Brexit ..”

    Perhaps the Independent has been asking different questions:

    EU referendum: Poll reveals massive late swing towards Brexit

    Exclusive: polling carried out for ‘The Independent’ shows that 55 per cent of UK voters intend to vote for Britain to leave the EU in the 23 June referendum

    Perhaps the explanation for deviation comes down to who is paying for the poll.

  • terence patrick hewett

    Democracy relies on the simple fact that the Colonel’s Lady and Rosie Grady both have a very good idea where their self-interest lies. And in terms of self-interest the Colonel’s Lady has always thought it unwise to upset Rosie O’Grady and Rosie O’Grady has always been well aware of the dangers of alienating the Colonel’s Lady. It has been the female of the species that has ensured our survival: if were up to the male we would have been extinct long ago.

    But the almost exclusively male upper power matrix is having a great deal of difficulty in getting its collective mind around the fact that the ground is shifting from under their feet. The sciences are increasingly giving access to all sorts of technology to everyman: for good or for evil. They really do believe that democracy is some sort of confidence trick and that the “masses” are just that: some sort of inert lump to be manipulated with sleight of hand and rhetoric whilst serious people like themselves get on with the serious business of organising the world to their advantage: seriously.

    In the coming decades they are going to be in for a very, very rude shock.

  • AntrimGael

    I had a discussion last week with relatives from England who are over on holiday. They say people will vote on immigration and nothing else. The economy, trade, pensions etc are sideshows. In many white working class areas, especially in the North of England, the leave vote is winning out by a distance. Most of these people aren’t racist but they are in fear of the Islamic influx, the rape cases in Rotherham, Burnley, Bradford etc. There are also countless incidents of Muslim men driving around in cars telling English women to cover up. There is also the ongoing case in Newcastle regarding Syrian refugees and alleged sexual assaults on white women. All these incidents plus the terror attacks in Belgium snd France are frightening ordinary people and leaving a powerful affect on them.

  • Korhomme

    That’s not quite what some are saying, for example Donald Tusk in the Guardian:


    Likewise Call-me-Dave, not that I’m much inclined to believe him. Yet I don’t see that Project Leave has a really well thought-out and thought-through response to what happens after a Brexit.

  • Heather Richardson

    I’m sure your relatives are correct about attitudes among white, working class voters in the north of England. I wonder do those voters understand that the cases they mention aren’t caused by migrants from the EU? The perpetrators in Bradford etc were for the most part men of Pakistani origin (often British-born, or at least with British citizenship). Brexit will make no difference to migration from former parts of the Empire, or to the arrival of refugees from assorted war zones. However, some in the Leave campaign seem content to leave such misapprehensions uncorrected.

  • terence patrick hewett

    Heather: Our constitution is not a written one: it is enshrined in the laws, writs and statutes of the UK: anything passed by parliament is constitutional so theoretically they may do as they please: if they pass a law to let in only red-bearded dwarfs they can do it.

  • Zig70

    Half the immigration is non EU and this isn’t controlled the way the leave camp are suggesting eu immigration should be. Makes no sense. Though I would say ‘these people aren’t racist but they are in fear of the Islamic influx’ actually they are a bit racist.

  • AntrimGael

    Fear more than outright racism I would say. British people in my experience, are largely tolerant compared to other European countries. People living in a lot of those towns say that immigrants coming from Muslim countries are not attempting to integrate but are establishing Islamic states within states. Didn’t Trevor Phillips, the head of the English Equality Commission, who was tasked to investigate these claims, confirm them in a recent report?

  • Katyusha

    Something that mystifies me about both this referendum and the Scottish Indyref is that in neither case were the details of an exit worked out beforehand. The people do not know the terms of what they are voting on.

    In both the GFA referendum and the numerous European and social referenda in the south, the details of the appropriate bill or treaty were worked out beforehand, and power was passed from the government to the people to approve the bill into law, or reject it in its entirety.

    Here, we are voting on the issue without knowing the terms of any exit, and both the appropriate bills and any negotiation with the EU will.not be drafted until after the vote. The referendum is no more than an opinion poll, it carries no legal weight, and the legal detail hasn’t even been fianlised. It’s a stupid way of doing things.

    Someone with a better grasp of history than myself could maybe confirm if this is standard practice in GB or for plebiscites, but I can’t see the wisdom of holding a vote which does not directly affect the passage or amendment of the law, and for which the terms of the resulting exit have not been finalised. People are voting on immigration without any indication of what the UK’s immigration policy will actually be. The same with trade. That is the root cause of all the speculation and hyperbole that fills the airwaves from both campaigns.

  • Zig70

    Fear based on uneducated views is racism. Failer to integrate is sometimes mistaken when white flight is the real trigger. Anyone from this area complaining about immigration needs to wake up. We have immigrated to every part of the globe to better our lives.

  • Declan Doyle

    The independent poll was an online poll which tend to be more volatile and less reliable, don’t get too excited.

  • chrisjones2

    Thats just not true.

    Many people would be happy with influx of skilled migrant workers eg from Poland into the Construction Sector or Portugal into the Agri/Foodstuffs.. They bring families and set up homes.

    Its beyond that the (literally) thousands of rootless young men from Africa and Asia who have little English and no clear skills. They have been sold false promises of what they can find here.

    Then there is the further problem of the organised career criminals form some Eastern European states who once in the UK simply cannot be deported, no matter what they do.

    Having Control of immigration does not mean no immigration. We need a skills based points system that can recognise the people we need in our economy and our historic ties to commonwealth states

  • chrisjones2

    How can they when the PM is in denial on what way we will vote?

    I hear now that the EU claim it will take 7 years to Exit. Bet we can do it in 2

  • Slater

    Have any middle class whites held fast when the demography changed around them.
    Thought not. So they are racist too?

  • chrisjones2

    We dont need one. We have a stable Government and the Referendum will give them a mandate

  • Gopher

    I am starting to believe that both Cameron and the EU thought The UK would not seriously consider leaving leading to lightweight concessions. Now exit looks likely it looks like Cameron might have to return to the EU and explain he needs a miracle. I think that’s now the only thing now that can keep the UK in the EU is a massive blink on their part.

  • terence patrick hewett

    The Prime Minister has now gotten around to threatening the crunchies! What is he going to do next? P*ss in the Women’s Institute jam? The poor man is clearly unhinged!!

  • Angry Mob

    They are all basing their prognosis on the assumption we will opt for the WTO option, which is misplaced as I have pointed out that the remain MP’s will never let that happen.

    The EFTA is already exists, we already meet more than the criteria to join having all the acquis of the EU implemented already. We could apply for that and use their already formed agreements and treaties without having to start from scratch, allowing us to deal with other issues in the two years that we would have.

    From actually leaving the EU I would guess it will take approximately 10 years to disentangle ourselves, I would hope that other countries such as Sweden, Denmark possibly Ireland etc will join us in that time which would give the EFTA much more clout; then maybe the EEA could be then run by a non-political body like the UNECE which would leave the countries in the EU who wish to integrate further the ability to do so.

  • lizmcneill

    But the Muslim countries are not in the EU. Brexit will have zero effect on immigrants from Pakistan.

  • Nevin

    Getting excited isn’t my style, Declan. I’m even cooler than an EU cucumber!

  • Sir Rantsalot

    Rubbish. When we get control of our country we get control of immigration. You might like to think that other countries are ‘just as nice as us’ if we give them a chance. But that is just not the case .

  • Jim M

    ‘Stable government’? If there’s a Brexit it will be all change in the top ranks of the Tory party. The referendum is an expression of a preference about our relationship with the EU, not a vote for or against the government. Brexit would change things immensely and new elections would let us decide the shape of that change.

  • mickfealty

    They wouldn’t have been able to play the anti immigration card then.

  • mickfealty

    Or possibly the opposite? Trouble is there are so many variables here you can make up hundreds of scenarios. A second referendum on whether to stay or leave once the terms of an outline Brexit was sketched might also happen? A preferendum, with more than two choices? Or the good old fashioned neverendum?

  • Teddybear

    But she’s right. Islamic immigration does not come from
    EU but from outside and that’s well within UK control. Brexit won’t affect this

  • Teddybear

    I miss the old EEC of Western Europe. We should never have expanded

  • Teddybear

    Good point. Funny how non racists in England live in v white areas

  • aquifer

    Yes, this immigration is mostly under UK, not EU, control, but the last thing politicians usually confess is their inability to control things and the extent of impacts on the electorate.

    If Cameron Blair Brown and the rest want to win this they need to ”fess up’ and add some credibility to their campaign.

    Simply distinguishing EU from other immigration could swing it.

  • Ciaran Caughey

    Britain will vote to exit.The Leftist and Establishment belief that everyone wants to live in a multi cultural sewer will be proved a fantasy.

  • Kev Hughes

    Where to start on this…

    ‘They have been sold false promises of what they can find here.’ – you have to wonder how bad it is for people to migrate to work as toilet attendants and still find it better than where they came from, usually dirt poor countries or war zones, or both..

    ‘Then there is the further problem of the organised career criminals form some Eastern European states who once in the UK simply cannot be deported, no matter what they do.’ – that’s just a plain bizarre statement. Sounds more like a policing issue as opposed to one where the EU is the problem, but do go on.

    ‘We need a skills based points system that can recognise the people we need in our economy and our historic ties to commonwealth states’ – like where some of those rootless guys from Africa and Asia come from?

    I just find it amazing that someone who is a free marketeer all of a sudden wants to put up various rules, boundaries and checks for the influx of human capital. It strikes me that you’re not actually much of a libertarian but just someone who has his antennae tuned to be illiberal. Your choice of course, but when we define ourselves on what we are not it does come across as slightly, well, a life wasted

  • Kev Hughes

    Your only issue there is they (the other members) will not let you join. I’ve seen the arguments of ‘they (EU members) wouldn’t cut off their noses to lose out on our market’, but then Herr Schauble comes out and says you don’t/won’t have access to the EU as before.

    TBH, say what you will about the Remain camp, and as much as I am not a fan of his, but when Wolfgang Schauble says you’re out, then you’re out. Just look at his pig headedness over Greece for example.

    The rest of your post is utter speculation and elixir for the Brexit camp.

  • NotNowJohnny

    Of course ‘we’ already have control of immigration from outside of the EU. How’s that working out anyway? And how will leaving the EU change that? You seem to have a clear understanding of how Brexit will work out in relation to immigration so I’m interested in your views on it.

  • NotNowJohnny

    This demonstrates that many of those advocating to leave on the basis of immigration simply haven’t a clue.

  • ted hagan

    All very true but unfortunately a large section of the British population seem to have decided they have had enough of the EU, despite not knowing the consequences, which is surely an indictment of the EU anyway. I am still hopeful of a Remain once people have looked over the edge and pulled back.

  • Sir Rantsalot

    Johnny and Teddy, why are you saying we have control of immigration? That’s the craziest thing I’ve read yet ! The biggest issue is our lack of immigration control and the thousands pouring into the UK. When we leave the EU we can put a merit based policy in place and admit people that have the skills we need.

  • Skibo

    I would be in favour of remain also but I do not fear a leave result. Within ten years, the country will be in the same place anyway. What leave will result in is a year or two of turmoil with a probable rise in interest rates.
    While that does result in higher repayments in mortgages, it helps pension funds and releases larger funds for investment.
    The obvious fall in the pound will result in increased exports but again will also result in higher prices in the shops.
    If Leave are to win then they have to keep pushing the imigration issue. That is the one that pulls at everyones heart strings.

  • Skibo

    To the great unwashed, immigrants are immigrants. They are all tarred with the one brush.

  • Skibo

    You are missing the point completely. The EU allows for free travel within the EU but there is a hell of alot of immigration from other countries that can be controlled by Westminster and is outside of EU control completely.

  • ted hagan

    I was born and worked in Northern Ireland for thirty years and could count in the finger of one hand the number of colleagues I had from outside the UK, never mind of a different colour. A sorry state of affairs. This state badly needs more diversity and a broader outlook. it’s a big world out there and we’re far too parochial.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Norway’s system was a compromise, nearly half voted for the EEC, a slightly bigger half voted for some sort of Viking Valhalla that shut itself off from the rest of Europe and the Norwegian government split the difference.

    Ask Brexiters would they rather have the partition of the United Kingdom into Eurosceptic and Europhile or come up with a pragmatic compromise like Norway did.

    If not then what better way would there be to ensure control over borders than having more of them?

  • Kevin Breslin

    Heartstrings? It’s completely misanthropic.

    It’s not a “in serving others we become free”, it’s gone back to “in serving ourselves we serve our king and our kin.”

    I have yet to see a Leave side brag about helping Working Class people get on the jobs ladder, only say that the reason why they are not on the job ladder is due to migrants.

    JC summed it up nicely.

  • Kevin Breslin

    It’s very simple wreck the economy, and migration both wanted and unwanted will go the other way … except the black market migrants, and the terrorists.

  • Kevin Breslin

    The EU has nothing to do with the people coming in from Africa and Asia, and criminals from Eastern Europe exist in Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Andorra and Monaco … they have a nasty habit of breaking the law.

    There is plenty of organised criminality caused by Western Europeans and North Americans, all this racism and xenophobia about gangs being exclusive to Slavs, Asians and Africans does is provide them with a degree of Human Whites Protection when it comes to profiling.

  • whatif1984true

    Should the vote to leave win, would anyone want Cameron to be involved in the exit negotiations after his massive weakness in the ‘concessions’ he got from Europe. These bear little resemblance to the strength of political sentiment in Europe for the UK to remain.

    If there is a vote leave and the European politicos truly fear a UK exit, both because of the economic losses but more importantly the probable impetus in their countries to also renegotiate/have a referendum, they will be considerably keener to try to put together a package to keep the UK in.

    A new package may then mean that Westminster vote to NOT act on the Brexit vote or alternatively vote for another immediate referendum. A messy but sensible choice.

    If you feel that Europe wouldn’t try to put together a RESCUE PACKAGE then it can only be because the damage of the exit is truly not going to be so great that it worries them. Alternatively if they cannot put together a package due to blocking by a few countries such as Poland then that proves the point that overall the strength of anyone country (UK) in the present day EC is much diminished and that power has been dramatically cut.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Cameron’s going to stay on as Prime Minister regardless of the result, this is not a referendum on the British Prime Minister.

    I view the hardline Tory Eurosceptic Backbenchers as being like the DUP, they talk a good talk, they say no surrender, they wave flags and parade and behave as the Proms were on every day. At the end of that day they like the DUP did with welfare reform they find ways to either share or hand control over to other jurisdictions. The reason being to absolve themselves of responsibility for taking tough choices.

    Cameron gave the UK a referendum, to punish him for that to ensure some Europhobic power grab of the United Kingdom will tear the party apart and possibly the nation as well.

  • chrisjones2
  • chrisjones2

    Win nor lose he will be gone by recess

  • chrisjones2

    I just love a comment criticising alleged racism that stereotypes people as the ‘great unwashed’

  • chrisjones2

    Nonsense. Different immigrant groups in the UK have carved out different areas based on their expertise.

  • chrisjones2

    Read the bit where I said I want managed immigration – probably on quite a large scale. And I want the power to exclude the criminal element.

    And I do not see for example why UK taxpayers should be paying Child benefit to over 50000 children who have never set foot in the UK but one of whose parents now lives here

  • chrisjones2

    So what

  • Kev Hughes

    You already have the ability to exclude criminal elements though Chris.

    You want ‘managed immigration’, whatever that actually means, it sounds like a wall. Have at it, stop the non-EU guys coming, if you’d like, you have control of that. But then again, it doesn’t explain why a libertarian would all of a sudden want limits to immigration as opposed to seeing it as a function of the market? Could you explain that one to me, because it doesn’t come across as consistent to me. Remember, freedom of movement within the EU is a 2 way street, or have we forgotten Auf Wiedersehen Pet?

    You’re right, I don’t see why taxpayers should be paying child benefits for those abroad, but then, I never raised that, you are only raising that now, and it would appear you’re merely throwing a distraction now from the points you originally raised and I commented on.

  • Catherine Anders

    Diversity is the result of people of different backgrounds converging on a location that offers them opportunities. If these existed in NI I think the immigrants would be there already. What do you want, to transport people of colour to your country just so it “looks” diverse? You know, in the same way Americans made their country more “diverse” from its founding till the abolishment of the slave trade?

  • Kevin Breslin

    Project Fantasy too.

  • Open door immigration i dont think is a function of the market. Being able to chose to bring indian IT professionals, german engineers etc to the uk to fulfill the needs of the market is fine. We could even designate hospitality staff or cleaning staff as shortage occupations and bring people to fulfil these jobs. This would allow the uk to have a more efficient economy.

    What we have at the minute reflects the european market and not the british market. Im sure theres 100 million people in the eu who could earn a better life in the uk than they do currently. The invisible hand would suggest they come to the uk to work as its in their intetest and will probably generate more wealth in the european economy. But that would probably bring a decline in uk productivity and living standards. So therefore, i would imagine the current set up isnt working for the domestic economy.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    What do you mean “carved out different areas based on their expertise”? Do you mean that they now employ whites or the “indigenous”? Do you mean they contribute to the creation of wealth?

  • whatif1984true

    The point is will EC renegotiate?

  • whatif1984true

    If the vote is to leave, Cameron will go and the Vote Leave Tories will have power and they will also have no choice but to take responsibility as they will be in charge of the UK. Dragging in the DUP to make comparisons is unhelpful.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Why so much hatred for David Cameron?

    He gave the Leave side their referendum, He’ll honour the result like he would’ve Scottish Independence.

    Are the Leave side so shallow in their demands for vindication they can’t work with anyone they disagree with?

    This is tribalism of Irish Home Rule crisis standards. One big British flag waving bunch and one against it.

  • Kevin Breslin

    It’s unhelpful to you, but I see the Jacob Rees Moogs of the world having similar attitudes to many DUP MPs, and the closest version of a Catholic DUP person I can think of.

    Let’s forget opinions, and talk basic mathematics…

    Vote Leave Tories will not be in charge because they don’t even have a Westminster majority.

    Keeping Cameron in charge would show a maturity of national unity, and party unity before undiluted Leave unity.

    Only 30% of Westminster is anti-Remain, this is a significantly small pro-Brexit minority coalition.

    Effectively the Tory pro-Remain side being backbenchers would be able to rebel, the Opposition is unlikely to give it support and even within this “EU is rubbish consensus” you’ve got the likes of Kate Hoey, Ian Paisley and Douglas Carswell who would have to move to the government benches to support it and there would need to be a confidence and supply from “pro-Europeans”.

    This is entirely like the DUP trying to rule Stormont by themselves without Sinn Féin, SDLP, Alliance or the Ulster Unionists supporting them.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Nonsense that local people don’t carry out organised international criminality?

    So “If they’re white, they’re all right” attitude to the perfect English speaking pasty face skinned British and Irish drug smugglers, British and Irish human traffickers, British and Irish community gangsters and terrorists, British and Irish football holligans, British and Irish black market sales people, British and Irish thieves, murderers and rapists.

    We are every bit as good at creating scumbags as they are, so why discriminate? Let’s work together and get the whole lot of them.



  • Kev Hughes

    Thanks Masonmci for your response.

    Let’s be very clear from the outset btw, I am not a libertarian, though I find it fascinating that libertarians such as Gove are now coming out against open borders.

    You don’t think open door immigration (the UK does not have this, it only has it for the EU, let’s be clear) is a function of a libertarian’s vision of the ‘market’? I find that an incredibly bizarre statement. Again, what libertarian would want to put limits, rules, hurdles up, to stop the market acting in whatever it deems fit?

    Lets go over the rest of your post:

    ‘Being able to chose to bring indian IT professionals, german engineers etc to the uk to fulfill the needs of the market is fine.’ – that sounds like a command economy to me, if I have my libertarian hat on. I am to guess that the government would decide what workers it would require, open this up and then all these guys would come, right? You wouldn’t see any form of time lag there, no?

    ‘This would allow the uk to have a more efficient economy.’ – that is a massive conclusion to leap to. You need to expand on how the government deciding on the entrance of human capital would actually be more efficient for an economy and how that is in keeping with the market function in, what I am assuming you are hoping, is a free market as opposed to a some form of command economy.

    ‘What we have at the minute reflects the european market and not the british market.’ – sorry, but this doesn’t make much sense if you do not elaborate on this. What is it you ‘have’? How is it not a reflection of the UK market?

    ‘The invisible hand would suggest they come to the uk to work as its in their intetest and will probably generate more wealth in the european economy. But that would probably bring a decline in uk productivity and living standards.’ – You believe the generation of greater wealth for an economy due to the influx of workers would create a decline in productivity? You are making another massive leap here with little to back it up. It would most likely lead to greater productivity owing to competition for places coupled with demand for the products produced (hence the pull factor for an economic migrant) who would be seeking greater recompense for their move. It is, however, working on the assumption that the decline in living standards is something that would occur in all sectors of an economy, which is clearly not the case over the past 30 years. That is a problem that wouldn’t go away with a Brexit (i’m looking at manual labour)

    ‘So therefore, i would imagine the current set up isnt working for the domestic economy.’ – again, have you got anything to back this incredibly sweeping statement up as the UK economy appears to be one of the few bright spots in Europe, hence why a lot of people have moved their during the Euro crisis? Why would people move (and take it from me, someone who has moved 6 times since 2007 and won’t be moving again anytime soon) to a place that is tanking it? That assertion makes little sense tbf.

  • Kevin Breslin

    The UK triggered the expansion of the EU, and wanted it faster than many on the continent.

  • kensei

    That’s because it is unknowable, being based on uncertain future events. There are only best guesses in both cases.

    Both are ultimately about values and direction rather than minute details. That is why they are appropriate for a referendum rather than a general election.

  • NotNowJohnny

    You didn’t answer any of the questions.

  • Skibo

    That would be a straight cucumber and not a bent one then.

  • ted hagan

    What are you exactly are you talking about? I simply think Northern Ireland would benefit from greater diversity. For years there were tough laws preventing immigrants from settling in Northern Ireland. Much tougher than in Great Britain, which, I believe, was to the detriment of the state. As for your American reference, what exactly are you getting at?

  • Skibo

    Its just an old saying that usually covers those who hit first and ask questions later. Do you consider it to cover you also?
    I believe the comment to be true that the English consider Immigrants as one band but the word immigrant covers a wide range of race, creed and colour.

  • Skibo

    If the immigrants left Dungannon Moy Park would follow them. Where would that leave our growing poultry farming enterprise.
    There is as specialised part of the construction industry building poultry houses all over the country.
    But we get our finger out and sort out the incinerator to resolve poultry litter issue. Another NIMBY problem.

  • Angry Mob

    It would be down to the existing members of the EFTA, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein as to whether or not we would join, that is not the EU’s prerogative. The indications are favourable for this as it would strengthen their hand as well.

    As for Wolfgang Schauble if you read what he actually said:

    “That won’t work. It would require the country to abide by the rules of a club from which it currently wants to withdraw. If the majority in Britain opts for Brexit, that would be a decision against the single market. In is in. Out is out. One has to respect the sovereignty of the British people.”

    He’s telling us that based on his assumption the the British people wouldn’t want it, not that we could not have it and as the poll survey conducted above shows that’s not true.

  • Angry Mob

    They still could of I think, maybe not as strongly but the unilateral emergency brake procedure could be used to stem the flow.

    If they would of neutralized and countered the economic argument the immigration argument would of won itself I think.

  • Kev Hughes

    Look AM, a brexit vote is an out, make no mistake of that. That is how it is viewed here in Germany and the body politic aren’t in the mood for negotiating a good deal for the UK. Schauble’s point is clear and is reported clearly here too, brexit = you’re out.

    ‘The indications are favourable for this as it would strengthen their hand as well.’ Switzerland is up the s*** after its referendum that the federal government refuses to implement, Lichtenstein has no leverage, much the same for Iceland and Norway won’t rock the boat. Tbf, that’s a motley crew you’ve assembled there that could be the guts of a DC film, but not for strengthening your hand in negotiating your way in the back door 😉

  • Katyusha

    That wasn’t the point I was making, through.
    In most referenda, the legislation is drafted first, then the public vote on it.
    In these two cases, the vote is being held first, then the legislation drafted after the fact. The public actually have no say in the application of the law.

    I disagree on the detail point. Properly conducted, a referendum allows the voter as high a degree of precision as possible in shaping the law. Conversely, you’d be hard pushed to find a voter that would approve of any party mainfesto in full, and even then, the party may not follow through on their promises.

  • Angry Mob

    The actual question we are voting upon is: “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?”

    A vote to leave the EU is a vote to leave the EU, if you conflate the EU and the EEA; well that is your folly. If the vote is to leave and the MP’s decide to go for the EFTA option well they have fulfilled their obligation as we would be outside the EU, if the question had included the EEA I would accept your point.

    I posted Schauble’s quotation as above, if you read past the headlines you can see what he actually said. The papers here have sensationalised the interview. It is his opinion based on an assumption that the British people are rejecting the single market, as Denis Staunton in the Irish Times points out: “German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble’s statement to Der Spiegel rejecting the Norway option carries no greater authority than any other speculative intervention.”

    By indications I meant for actually joining and gaining membership of the EFTA. The EFTA with the UK as a member once again would carry economic clout, becoming the fourth largest trading bloc in the world even with poor Norway and Switzerland who are doing terribly outside the EU: http://hdr.undp.org/en/countries

  • Kev Hughes

    You lost me at the point where you essentially said Dennis Stauntom has greater authority on the matter than Germany’s finance minister, especially in light of the past few years and how it’s been reported here in Germany, the country where he is from.

  • Angry Mob

    I didn’t say he had greater authority, I pointed out what he had said that Schäuble made a speculative intervention. It was not an EU official coming along and stating that their policy would be X based upon treaty Y.

  • Zig70

    You could write a book on White flight, it’s a strange thing. You see it close at hand in Newtownabbey. Arguably, those who move first to Ballyclare maybe motivated by many things, could even be a small percentage by sectarian views of new neighbours or cheaper homes, etc etc but you would have to conclude that the middle class are the drivers.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I would agree, Migrants, CAP payments, as well as the Waste issue unrelated to the EU … It would require a complete culture change for local people to save the agrifood industry here if there’s a Brexit.

  • Kevin Breslin

    The 30% of Westminster that supports Brexit, don’t have the ability or the mandate needed to govern without pro-Remain support. The Leave Tories even with the DUP and Labour Leavers like Hoey and UKIP’s Carswell in their corner are not going to have it their own way either. Look at Iain Duncan Smith’s tenure as an outwardly Eurosceptic Conservative leader, Europhiles in the “CUP” aren’t meek to a Eurosceptic or even Europhobic leader. IDS is an ex soldier, as nationalist a position as you can have, but he was beaten by Cameron supporters e.g. the likes of Ken Clarke.

    It’s ridiculous to think that a Brexit vote is going to introduce an outside imperative of leaving the EU to endorse and enforce the ideas of Vote Leave or specific Eurosceptics in the Tory Party, it will be a Tory Party Coalition deal, otherwise the party may as well split in two and join/takeover UKIP and the Lib Dems respectively.

    Just like the DUP has only 30% of Stormont supporting it, they need outside support to get anything done.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Reciprocal arrangements exist and UK citizens not so insularly minded to consider working elsewhere take these benefits and send them home to children who have never set foot wherever their mummy or daddy is working now.

  • Kevin Breslin

    The “Libertarian” Leavers in the Tory Party are lying through their teeth, you are absolutely right that the Aussie Rules is Command Economy stuff, and it was Command Economy effort in Australia to bring more migrant workers in, not to reform the migration process to deter the unwanted.

    There are plenty of Indians entering the UK who aren’t IT professionals, there are Engineers entering from Ghana rather than Germany, extending the current points system to the 26 EU nations isn’t going to incentivise the best or disincentive the worst, because the non-EU citizens feel the wrath of the pro-Brexit grumblers, some of whom dream of the restoration of empire, empire being as anti libertarian as you can get.

    Boris has said he’s pro-migration, Carswell has admitted if there was free movement but not the Communities Act he’d be fine with the Single Market the way it is. Even Farage wants migration from the “friends in the Commonwealth”, he seems to be suspious of Easter Europe though.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Puts this philosophy into perspective.


  • Kev Hughes

    Kevin, I’m reminded of what Rafael Behr said last week about the Brexiteers; they’re revolutionaries wanting to make omelettes with other people’s eggs.

    The Aussie example usually bandied about is always an interesting 1; it is command economy stuff and leads to market inefficiencies and over capacity among whatever the Aussie government designate as ‘key roles’. Don’t believe? Ask any of your friends in Perth (I’m certain you’ve a few there like most folks) about the mining sector workers, it’s falling off the side of a cliff. I imagine that someone would say ‘ah, but commodities prices have went through the floor over the past 18 months’ and they’d be entirely correct, though that has nothing to do with the state sanctioned creation of surplus employees, thus creating downward pressure on workers’ pay packets.

    Long story short, I can’t see the UK being as attractive as it is now post brexit. The pound will be weaker, European headquarters for global firms will relocate to another EU country and in general a country would be turning inwards and becoming ever more self absorbed.

  • whatif1984true

    The new leader of the Tories will be the new Prime Minister, they will be a Euro Sceptic/Leave MP.
    If 30% of MPs do not support BREXIT there is no legal means to force them to implement the vote result if there is a Leave majority in the referendum.
    The hiatus will lead to frantic negotiation to Remain.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Erm, you’ve got me wrong here, there isn’t a Parliamentary majority within the Leave Camp. In other words to get anything at all past in Westminster the Leave Camp needs to reach out to the Remain camp with compromises.

    Under the Lisbon Treaty article 50 it’s likely that Cameron backed up by Leavers and Remainers in his own government will have a 2 year period to negotiate a way to quit involvement in and influencing the EU. I expect that Cameron will stay on until the UK leaves after this negotiation period.

    After a very bitter European campaign, I still feel that Cameron is probably the only one that can unite the party. He gave the Leave side their referendum, He gave the Remain side his best effort to stay in the EU. Anyone else of more extreme position is likely to tear the Conservatives apart … not that I’m complaining. 😀

    David Cameron says he’ll stay on, and he’s backed by 3 senior Leave politicians in that position. Effectively the Tories will become a Power-Sharing Government, just like the DUP-SF one. Leavers will have to concede to the Remain side over keeping a strong relationship with the Continent, Remainers will have to concede to the Leave side over all those promises they made about reforming the UK, improving wages, cutting migration, controlling this and that and Pies and Proms.





  • Kevin Breslin

    This UK governments credibility on migration can be summed up with the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme. If I were Kate Hoey in the Labour camp and wanted to whinge about Migration, I would target that scheme and instead assist in promoting these agriculture jobs to young British workers. It may be market inefficient, but at least it would actually show a degree of patriotic determination to help those less of in her country.

    We have a Points System for the non-EU workers, We have Schemes that have the government actually bring in workers on the demand of Big Farming in England, we have Empty Promises that Migration will stop and that British people will get a fighting chance to get a job upon a Brexit.

    Hoey and all the other Labour Leavers, and indeed George Galloway are likely to be washed up with political zeitgeists to focus on the actions that a government needs to take.

    I’m an Irish nationalist, I would love to milk the whole the UK is selfishly, strategically and economically interested in some sort of insular Dad’s Army jingoist utopia where Britain stands alone in Splendid Isolationism. That would be a bit strawman, and an insult to my British friends and relatives there.

    At the end of the day, I’m European, one small part of the global family and I see the Brits, whether they English, Scots, Welsh, Gibraltarese or Northern Irish as European, sharing this continent, and to be fair to the rest of the continent we all have our own versions of jingoism, culture, historical narratives and our own fears, insecurities and aspirations. It is the networks of a nation that give it their strength, and being xenophobic is inevitably going to weaken it in global affairs.

    Having in the Republic, I know the European Union’s failures and its strengths, I am probably as Eurosceptic as an SDLP person could be. I am skeptical that we have a European Union that works together to tackle the challenges of Europe with collective responsibility, I am skeptical that the European Union can continue to function with the power it has without reform, I am skeptical that the European Union is completely innocent of what Assange called ” a political cover for bad government” particularly in the case of the UK government. I am proud of an Ireland where a man sued the Irish government to have every treaty made in the European Union put towards the Irish people.

    However I am more skeptical that any nation in isolation will allow itself to be scrutinized by peer countries the way we see in the European Union, I am skeptical that without the European Union framework Treaty deals between countries are going to be more transparent and civic. I am skeptical that somehow “a single market” without tariffs, trade barriers, labour barriers and rights protection by every nation in it fighting over controlling the rules for the rest. I am skeptical that the freedom of ordinary people to “the gift of being able to live, love, work, travel and retire in 28 countries” as Caroline Lucas quite reasonably says will be maintained.

    I love the European Union, because it needs love, it can be reformed and improved if the will is strong. I see the Leave side moving from relative pragmatism to being driven by hate, fear and suspicion in these final days of the referendum.

    I look at Ukraine, an isolated sovereign independent nation free from “Brussels” and even Eurosceptic nationalists like Daniel Hannan apologizing for the every nation for itself lack of solidarity within the Eurosceptics to the wider continent including Ukraine and Turkey.

    I look at Northern Ireland where the will to change and maintain lines on a map encouraged gun violence and bombs, rather than the spirit to try to build inclusive nations from the diversity of people within it and respect their opposing positions in a fair and democratic matter.

    It is disgusting that political forces in the United Kingdom resorts to scare stories, egotism and mistrusts about outsiders, that zeitgeists rather than insights is driving the Leave campaign.

    I respect the self-determination of a referendum, but unless there is a public will to use that vote to reform the UK into a better place to live and take responsibility for its faults rather than blaming the outsiders … a leave vote will go down as a protest vote that accomplished nothing worthwhile at all.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Nope, it’ll be a Tory negotiated Brexit with the Europeans, and the next government will have to start from that position at the next election if the vote goes that way.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Well arguably the only thing that would make that Government unstable would be in-fighting and Tories on the Leave and Remain side not reaching a pragmatic compromise. 3 senior Leave Tories, Boris, Gove and Grayling back Cameron remaining in charge until the end of the fixed term.

    The Leavers will get promotions, there will be a fair balance of Remainers to show One Nation Conservativism, but ultimately that will be it. Maybe things may go south and the Tories could wreck the economy after the Brexit vote and find it difficult to face down the people then after the choices it made and face no choice but to call an early election.

    So I feel you are absolutely right, it probably would take Home Rule Crisis level of discourse for the Conservatives to want to call an early election and risk making their party go the way the Liberals did after that event.

    The Tories also get to govern for entire period of the 2 year Brexit negotiations, they may make a few unpopular decisions and u-turn on things that the Leave and Remain camps said to get there, but they will do what they have to.

    If people bought the shallow populism that a Brexit vote would allow them to change the personality of government and get an election, I’m afraid they are going to have to wise up and face a Winter of Discontent until 2020, or actually make one by going to the streets demanding the government reforms.

    However the idea that the losing side of the Tories is going to bring down the government so either Jeremy Corbyn and/or Nigel Farage can come in on a white horse to offer an alternative vision is completely ridiculous and pretty much unprecedented in British history.

  • Kev Hughes

    Kevin, thanks for the reply there which I feel is also a lot like a manifesto (not meant as a slur btw) of where you stand.

    Perhaps it is because of where I live and work now, but I see Europe working from here. It is a collection of people from many different places, working away, travelling around and enjoying life.

    The UK is different in that it really doesn’t share a border (and do not bother coming up here with the NI and ROI, I’m a Nat, I see no difference between what is on either side of the border, they’re Irishmen)with different people. The UK has always been a place that I like, but I worry about outside of London as it also seems to be a place stuck in a time warp where people are pretty nostalgic and thus fearful of the future. The proliferation of shows about going back to Victorian times, a continued fixation on WW2, the harking back to essentially the 50s and a less open and progressive time (I would throw the 60s in there too as an era as it is such a drag on popular culture to this very day), these things seem to me some form of opiate owing to fear of the future and what it may bring. This campaign from the Brexiteers is an extension of this nostalgic, fear based undercurrent running through things.

    Don’t get me wrong, this runs through a lot of places elsewhere, but I find my life in Germany to be a bit more interesting.It is not that Germans are all fixated with the future and what it may hold, they love their twee trifles as much as the English, but perhaps with losing 2 world wars and forced partition during half of the 20th century, I find the country to have a different vibe to it, one where you still have 2 halfs of a family reconciling on what happened during the 20th century and trying to get on with it.

    I genuinely worry about this result and all of its ramifications,like going home and being asked at Newry to show my passport. Why the f*** should I may be my response?

  • Skibo

    Not sure if the farming community realise they may have to start trading at world prices and not be cushioned by the safety net of the EU.
    New Zealand beef traded at between £2.50/£3.00 per Kg for steer and heifer beef.
    Lamb prices at £40 to £50 per head
    Milk is trading between 13p and 14p per litre.
    Where would those prices leave our farmers?

  • Kevin Breslin

    Imitating the likes of Iceland, Switzerland and Norway … not some far away archipelago like New Zealand that has more fertile soil and a completely different market condition to deal with.

    Effectively the short term solution is going to be the same as Remains … Common Agricultural Policy until 2020. They’ve admitted as much


  • Skibo

    Kevin, nobody has or even can confirm what will occur after Brexit. Anyone who thinks that Westminster will support the agricultural industry are in cloud cuckoo land. Their voting strengths are not from farming but middle to upper class families.
    How could they sell the lack of support for the steel industry, the mining industry etc. etc.and still give money to farmers?
    Brexit will tell the farmers what they want to hear.
    It truth, the money saved by leaving the EU will probably be used to lower tax rates and I would assume VAT will be the first, just to show that it was the EU that determines any changes in VAT.
    It is a simple way to make everyone think they have more money in their pocket.

  • Skibo

    Kevin, one other issue with what you propose, The different zones within the UK are levelling out the SFP to differing levels of payment per hectare with NI well ahead of the other zones. I would assume that after discussions the other zones may want one level payment over the whole UK and NI would lose out yet again.

  • whatif1984true

    We are talking at cross purposes. The Brexiteers do not have a party. They would have to compromise after a vote to leave but that politically speaking is what they want. If the flow of immigrants from ALL EU countries (including the potential new countries , should there be any) could be controlled numerically or a ceiling put on the total number then that would probably satisfy most of the public voting Leave. The politicos would have to compromise around that.

  • Who’s Ben Murphy?

  • R2W2

    But why do they reject the EU, the Polish plumber?