Referendum – 3 Days Away
Voting is on 23 June 2016 between 7.00 am and 10.00 pm
BBC Poll Tracker: 45% Remain – 42% Leave – 13% – Don’t Know.
FT Poll Tracker: 44% Remain – 44% Leave
Polls have moved back towards Remain over the last few days:-
|Date||Leave %||Remain%||Don’t Know||Pollster||Method|
This Telegraph article is based on the Orb poll: Remain surge back into the lead in wake of Jo Cox murder – but EU Referendum vote will be very close according to final poll. The Telegraph is, of course, backing the Leave Campaign. This FT article also refers to the Orb poll and also discusses the process of getting the vote out on polling day: New polling methodology puts Remain on 53% The FT, of course, takes the City of London view that the UK should remain in the EU.
William Hill: UK Remain: 2/9 [prev 2/7] – UK Leave: 3/1 [prev 13/5] – Scotland Leave: 10/1
According to Betfair, betting markets have seen a 7 point swing in favour of Britain voting to stay in the EU, as momentum has shifted towards Remain.
The FT reports: Pound takes breather after big jump: “Buoyed by weekend polls showing that voters in favour of the UK leaving the EU had seen their lead whittled down by the Remain camp, sterling had jumped 2.4 per cent on Monday — its biggest single-day gain since December 15 2008.”
In short, all the indicators are suggesting that Remain may win and that the markets will be very content with that outcome. But, of course, much depends on turnout and the actual results. George Soros writes an op-ed in the Guardian: The Brexit crash will make all of you poorer – be warned
The last big BBC Referendum Debate is live on BBC1 at 8pm tonight in Wembley Arena hosted by David Dimbleby and with quite a cast: Leave: Boris Johnson MP, Gisela Stewart MP and the Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom MP Remain: Labour Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, Ruth Davidson Conservative Leader in the Scottish Parliament, and Frances O’Grady, of the TUC.
What our Neighbours are Saying
Very fairly, the Telegraph points out that our EU neighbours want the UK to remain with a spread of newspaper headlines: EU referendum: What the world is saying – ‘Please don’t leave!’
Britain is, of course one of the larger economies in the EU, with the 2nd biggest (and arguably most capable) Armed Forces, with (like France) a permanent seat on the UN Security Council and close links with its former Empire now transformed into the Commonwealth and sharing a common language and a ‘special relationship’ with the USA (although whether that will help us in the event that Trump is elected President must be a worry). Overall, the EU is stronger and more influential with Britain in the EU and Britain is stronger and more influential around the world as a Member of the EU.
UKIP & Immigration
There are of course the Royston Vaisey types who think that the UK should retreat behind its borders, get rid of all the “bloody foreigners” the epitome of that tendency being UKIP. At present UKIP has just 1 MP in the House of Commons and 3 representatives in the House of Lords. In the 2010 General Election UKIP put up 558 candidates, got only 3.1% of the national vote and no seats in Parliament. The sole MP is a Tory defector.
Yes, UKIP has 488 councillors out of the 20,523 in UK local authorities which enables it to campaign (unsuccessfully) for local shops for local people and so forth. UKIP now also has 7 members in the National Assembly for Wales which must worry the Welsh, and 22 of the 751 MEPs in the European Parliament which gives UKIP access to EU political funding and enables it to cause some disruption to orderly debate – but not much else.
UKIP has very cleverly played an important part in the campaign in terms of making immigration the issue to counter the economic case for Remain. See, for example, this BBC Report: EU referendum: Nigel Farage tells Leave campaigners to focus on migration and as recently as 3rd June Farage was claiming success: Immigration focus a boost for Brexit, says Farage. Whether it was true or not that Farage inspired the Poison Dwarf Gove and his henchman Boris the Clown also to focus on immigration, the fact is that they did, knowing, as David Cameron must also have done, that Freedom of Movement is a necessary part of the EU Free Market.
Net Migration History
During 1991-2003 net EU migration (i.e. immigration – emigration) from other EU countries to the UK was very small. This contrasts with an average annual net-migration from non-EU countries to the UK of over 100,000 migrants for the same period. EU migration to the UK was not a major political issue during that period.
By 2004, approximately 9% of people living in the UK were born abroad. Most of them were from the Commonwealth, notably from the Caribbean, India and Pakistan.
On 1 May 2004, 10 countries joined the EU and 8 of those countries had living of standards well below those of other EU members (i.e. A8 countries).
The UK was one of only three countries which opened labour markets immediately to workers of all the new member states.That was a decision of the Labour Government of Tony Blair. It is certainly highly arguable that the UK should have opted for a phased relaxation of control but David Cameron can hardly be blamed for the Blair government’s decision.
Since 2004, tens of thousands of A8 nationals have migrated to the UK every year. More countries have joined the EU since then (e.g. Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia) and nationals of most of these countries also have access to UK labour markets. In 2015, an estimated 270,000 citizens from other EU countries immigrated to the UK, and 85,000 UK citizens emigrated abroad. So EU ‘net migration’ was around 185,000. That’s roughly the highest recorded level.
Estimated non-EU immigration and net migration has always been higher than migration from the EU though the gap is narrowing due to large increases in EU immigration over the past few years, and the two are now at similar recorded levels.
There are an estimated 1.3 million “Old EU ” nationals living in the UK (47 per cent of all EU nationals in the UK) and about the same number of A8 nationals. The rest (around 240,000) includes nationals from Cyprus, Malta, Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia.
Unsurprisingly, the London and the South East regions host the largest number of EU nationals and, frankly, London copes very well. I live in an area of London with a high level of EU and non EU nationals. The new arrivals make a great contribution to our diverse City. See this Financial Times article: In the EU referendum, London is the capital of Remain.
However A8 nationals are more spread around the country and many have gone to rural areas where migration was uncommon and which lacked the necessary infrastructure. It would be fair to say that government departments have not always taken the necessary steps to remedy infrastructure failures and this has fueled opposition to migration.
In the year to June 2009 54 per cent of incoming EU nationals cited work at the main reason for moving to the UK and in the year to March 2014, 68 per cent of EU nationals stated that work was the main reason for migrating to the UK. This increase corresponds to the economic difficulties currently experienced by Old EU countries, such as Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece. Data from National Insurance Number (NINO) registrations indicate that nationals of Spain and Italy currently are at the third and fourth place in registrations among non-UK nationals, just behind Poland and Romania.
In fiscal terms, the estimates are that since 2001 recent EEA immigrants have made a positive fiscal contribution of about £22 billion for the 2001-2011 period. About 3 million EU nationals are now in the UK – that’s just 5% of the population and about 1.2 million UK nationals live in Europe. To my way of thinking a net total of 1.8 million is nothing to make a fuss about when the UK benefits to the tune of £22 billion.
I think that the EU will have to think more carefully about migration pressures before any further enlargement – but these matters are best dealt with within the the EU than out.
But whether UKIP and others complain about Free Movement – it is a necessary part of the single package and what Poison Dwarf Gove and his Clown Boris are very careful not to talk about is the need to protect the single market not only in goods but also in services. Many firms in the City are making plans to relocate staff to other EU countries in the event of Brexit so as to remain in the single market . How Boris, a former Mayor, can sell London down the River Thames, is only explainable by his desire to have Cameron’s job.
The FT has a very good analysis of the impact of Brexit in a few simple charts: Brexit in seven charts — the economic impact. After examining all the data it concludes:-
“Rarely has there been such a consensus among economists, as there is on the damage that Brexit would wreak on the British economy. The warning may turn out to be wrong — but it is difficult to ignore.”