Monday, 2 December 2013

More on that Euro poll

As predicted, the detail of the Opinium survey appeared on their website late enough yesterday not to spoil the Observer's story and too late to allow the other dailies to do a decent job of analysis (though the Mail has a half-arsed go HERE)

A couple of things most of you know already but it's nice to have confirmed; the young are likely to be pro-EU and the old anti-EU, but the old are far more likely to vote; the Euphiles feel less strongly about staying than the Euphobes do about leaving (28% of 50% 'strongly' to go, 17% of 36% 'strongly' to stay), and big business is keener on the EU than small business (being better able to afford the cost of regulation gives them competitive advantage)

And of course the best bits are always in the appendices rather than in the conclusions that the report commissioners draw for you. The most glaring omission in the available choices for the questions "biggest benefits / drawbacks of EU membership" was a choice of pooled sovereignty / loss of sovereignty - and as usual respondents then pick the nearest alternatives - in this case foreign affairs / policy and environmental policy / laws. Given this glaring omission, the poll confirms that Brits think that free, tariff-free trade is the biggest benefit of EU membership whilst loss of control of our own country is the biggest drawback. 

It's in the responses to one question that has been ignored both by Observer journos and Opinium analysts that the truth behind Churchill's words on the UK's place in Europe becomes clear. Respondents were asked to name things / events from their countries past of which they were most proud; the Germans said reunification, the French said the 1789 revolution, the Poles said leaving the Soviet Union but the Brits said our monarchy and our military prowess. Germans value their culture (though it's not clear whether this is Schiller, Goethe and Heine or Bratties and the Oktoberfest) and the efficiency with which they rebuilt after the war, the French value the Rights of Man and democracy, the Poles value their identity and character but we value our industrial history. They're all new countries with a history of losing wars, we're an ancient kingdom with a history of winning them. They lay claim to the virtues of the Enlightenment, we lay claim to the Enlightenment's scientific and technical advance - the coal, iron, steel and engineering that lifted the whole of Europe from 18th century serfdom to 19th century demos. 

And for their closest chums, they all look inside Europe - naming Belgium (France), Austria (Germany) and Germany / the UK (Poland) - whilst we look over the great ocean to pick the US.

For me, the survey confirms that we are a European nation but not a nation of Europe; we are of Europe but not in it. We are fixed and unmoving, whilst they, with all their fluid borders, ethnographic pockets, revolutions and internal wars, are a big squabbly mix far, far better off as a federation of a hundred baby statelets than as a score of separate nations. And that's why we must leave.

9 comments:

Sackerson said...

Nicely said. When are you standing for Parliament?

Anonymous said...

Radders, you approach this from a position of principle.


The politicians approach this from a position of gaining power.


Therefore they are going to ignore you (and me).


Ignoring Cameron's faux-referendum, what are we going to do about it?

DeeDee99 said...

Churchill knew what he was talking about.

He also said "If it comes to a choice between Europe and the open seas (ie the rest of the world) Britain should always choose the open seas."

That's what the British people believe as well.

I expect if there had been a question along the lines of

Which do you more readily associate the UK with (a) Europe (b) the Commonwealth ...... a majority would have said The Commonwealth.

But they don't want to know that!

john miller said...

Gosh, this brings back memories!

I remember if you took a newspaper more than 2 feet long, you used to read this sort of thing all the time.

An article where the writer has actually looked at the evidence, read it and reached a conclusion, then laid it before his readers for their edification.

I'd got so used to "journalists", who merely publish the press release, that I'd nearly forgotten how intersting this was.

Demetrius said...

Sink the Bismarck.

Anonymous said...

"Fog in the Channel, Continent cut off"

Edward Spalton said...

Over several years now, I have spoken to sixth formers, putting the case for independence from the EU. Usually this has taken the form of a debate with a representative of the European Movement. Until very recently, I had a clear run of success - often by landslide majorities. The schools ranged from ordinary comprehensives to Public Schools and one private girls' day school.

Instead of arguing the case, the pro EU spokesman at the last two debates concentrated on "feel-good" stuff. "The EU is like a family - not perfect but you will be very cold and lonely outside". "opportunities for study and jobs, blah, blah,blah" "One day, one of you could be President of Europe" etc.
- And they went for it - twice!

My arguments - which I always update- just did not do the job.


On the second occasion, there was a majority in favour of EU membership but a very large number of abstentions (which I had not noticed before). There was also evidence of an organised, very committed left political group of opinion at this school.

I don't know whether opinion has changed or whether a touchy feely approach is what is needed.

Suggestions and comments please!

PS I have had problems getting through with my Ipad - it always tries to correct the spelling when I'm trying to prove I'm not a robot! So I'll stick to my PC infuture.

Anton Diffring said...

DeeDee99: I wonder how many of the UK populace actually know what "the Commonwealth" is these days and are competent to judge between the appeal of that compared with "Europe"... Much of the Commonwealth leaves me cold, and the more attractive Anglophone parts, well, I'm not sure how important they are to us or indeed how much they care about "the old country". If you'd said The World compared with just Europe, then sure. I'm very pro-Europe - just anti-EU.

Edward Spalton said...

Part of the estrangement from the Commonwealth countries is that we did the dirty on them when we joined the EEC/EU. Politicians like Roy Jenkins and John Selwyn Gummer told us that they really didn't want anything more to do with us. It was a lie.

It still makes me angry. Our family firm had a twenty year trading relationship with New Zealand - buying many thousands of tons of their superb (and unsubsidised) milk powder. That was cut off, as with a guillotine on January 1 1973 - a day which should live in infamy.

The other thing is that our press ignores them. Whilst I opposed the Afghan war, we have hardly, if ever, heard that Canadian and Australian troops have been fighting (and dying) alongside our own.

A while ago, Philip Benwell of the Australian Monarchist League tried to start a Commonwealth Realms Association. Speakers from Canada and New Zealand also attended. Philip Davies MP (Shipley Con) was on the platform. Sadly, it never got off the ground for lack of support.