Encouragements and challenges from the latest social attitudes survey

On Thursday 26th March, the 32nd British Social Attitudes survey was published. After the recent YouGov poll giving supporters of continuing EU membership a 10% lead, this survey, which took a larger sample size of 3,000 voters as opposed to less than half that number in the YouGov survey, provided some welcome encouragement for supporters of withdrawal but also some serious challenges.

There is no question that the EU is unpopular with the British electorate. However, the Telegraph’s headline “British more anti-EU than last two decades” only tells part of the story. Given a referendum now, more than half of those surveyed (57%) would choose to remain in the EU, while only 35% want to withdraw. This only confirms the findings of the YouGov Survey that the withdrawalist movement has a lot of ground to catch up. However, when the renegotiation option is brought into the equation, 24% of those surveyed indicated an unequivocal wish to leave the EU with 38% wanting to stay in a reformed EU where Brussels would exercise considerably less power. There is indeed, in a sense, a Eurosceptic majority but herein lies the challenge. How many of those 38% could be won over to an outright withdrawalist position if they could be convinced that Cameron’s renegotiation is only going to be mere window dressing which does not address their concerns?

The answer to this question depends on identifying why so many people who are clearly uncomfortable with our EU membership do not wish to pull the plug altogether. This, of course, means asking them some questions. Not wishing to presume to anticipate what replies we might be given, there are a few obvious areas worthy of investigation.

  1. How aware is the electorate of the alternatives? Hugo van Randwyck and Robert Oulds both claim that when voters are given the choice between EU membership and re-joining EFTA (i.e., adopting a purely trade-based relationship with the EU) the balance comes down strongly in favour of EFTA.
  2. How well-informed are most voters concerning the degree to which the EU interferes in our lives? Or the cost?
  3. How many of those reluctant to support withdrawal have been misled by such nonsense as the “Three Million Jobs” myth and believe that we would sink without trace if we withdrew?
  4. How many are still unaware that the objective of the EU always was, is and always will be the creation of a federal United States of Europe?

It is the conviction of all the CIB Committee that if the UK electorate was presented with a clear picture of the aims and costs of the EU and the positive options for our country as an independent nation that the vote for withdrawal would be overwhelming. Furthermore, even though we and most of our supporters are firmly committed to the preservation of the UK, we nonetheless take heart from Scotland.

When David Cameron announced that a referendum on independence was to be held, supporters of the Union appeared to have an unshakeable majority. A poll by Lord Ashcroft in May 2013, less than 18 months before the vote took place, claimed that only 26% of those surveyed supported independence with a massive 65% against. However, the Independence campaign came within a whisker of pulling it off and barely six months after the referendum, it is all too apparent that the vote to stay in last September did not settle the issue. “Half of Scots think we will be independent by 2025” claimed The Scotsman earlier this month and research from the University of Edinburgh suggests that about half  English voters agree with them.

A similar momentum in favour of withdrawal from the UK is therefore a distinct possibility. The challenge is to build a team and devise the right strategy to make this happen.

Photo by Iker Merodio | Photography

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  1. Phillip FergusonReply

    Dear Mr Petley,

    Any politician who actually has the guts to stand up and admit to the population that 9/11 was an inside job would probably win the hearts of the vast majority of free-thinking British people. I do not include here the mass immigration of foriegners who will never be British. You can take a man out of his culture, but you cannot take the culture out of the man. This is so blatantly obvious to anyone with just a modicum of common-sense. This thereby proves that mass immigration is simply a tool to further divide the indiginous people of this land. Divide and conquer is the order of the day. Watch out for more false flags to further limit our basic freedoms.

    To control a population effectively those who wield the power need to take away the freedoms of the people bit-by-bit. They are very good at it too. For thousands of years those in power have been manipulating ordinary hard-working people to steal from them (taxes) and control every aspect of their lives.

    These evil contrivers together with their mindless minions of the New World Order are doing their utmost to bring chaos into into this world. The Western countries are now controlled in this way. The banksters and global corporations now control everything. The politicians are probably bought and paid for too. Politicians no longer represent the people; they represent only their own personal interests.

    It is so obvious to any serious thinker that to divide a people you initially require at least two parties who both pertain to

    Fortunately, we are all standing in the End-Time of the Holy Judgement, and the evil ambitions of these people will not come to fruition. There is no longer any time left for them to achieve it. The survivors of what is to come will look back with disbelief at how the politicians had betrayed them for thousands of years.

    The countless murders carried out through various proxy wars fought out between East and West since the end of the Second World War does not bear thinking about. All those poor souls sacrificed so the

  2. Gordon WebsterReply

    The British Public have never been told the truth about the cost of European Membership to date, or the cost of continuing membership. I cannot see that changing. Quotas and Directives cost Britain 560,000 in Steel, Shipbuilding and Fishing. No one, except for McWhirter and Atkinso have highlighted that. Membership forced the sale f our Utilities, under the pretext of them costing the country, yet 6 major companies are making over a billion pound a year in profit – 3 of those are almost wholly owned by foreign governments. Membership forces us to buy useless in order to keep Siemens in Work and, I believe, that membership is forcing the building of HS2 to keep European Steel in work. Membership has laso left us with a massive Balance of Trade Deficit, because of the destruction of our Manufacturing Base and EU Rules. Would Europe kill the golden goose if we left, or would they pray that we do not take our industries back? Our trade with the rest of the world is growing and Europe is becoming less important – and they know that. All of that is before we start talking about the cost of open Borders. I checked in Hansard for the number of “Active,” NIN’s in Britain, since I was informed that it was 61 million. The result of a question on “Active,” NIN’s given to lord Rodger, under FOI, was 65 million – and that was 2012. QAdd 14 million chidren to that number and the magic 80 million number, which is supposed to scare people has arrived.
    I have continually asked pro Europe people both face to face, and in the Daily Mail Comments Columns ( under pseudonym Grandpa Broon) to name one benefit of membership. I have still to get an answer.

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