Winner of the New Statesman SPERI Prize in Political Economy 2016

Friday, 26 August 2016

Why we must have a second referendum

I think many people who argue against a second referendum have not taken on board the scale of the difference between the various Brexit options. We could retain access to the single market and free movement of labour (the Norway option). Or we could just cut a trade deal with the EU, do nothing on services, and end free movement (the Canada option). Or other things in between. In economic terms the Norway option is much closer to EU membership than it is to some of the alternative forms of Brexit.

Perhaps an analogy is that you decide one day that it is time to move house, as you are really bored with your current property and aggravated by its various imperfections [1]. That decision is akin to the Brexit vote. But you have no idea where you are going to move to. It could just be a local move to a similar style property, or it could be to somewhere in another part of the country where property is cheaper but where you would have to find new friends and a new job.

The Brexit vote in practice is the green light to explore what possible alternatives are available. Having looked at the various alternatives, you may decide that you do indeed want to move. Or alternatively you may realise that your current house is not so bad after all, and is superior in many ways to the best available alternative, and so you decide to stay. To deny a second referendum is a bit like saying that once you have decided to move you cannot go back on that decision, no matter what the alternatives turn out to be. A slightly closer analogy is that you decide to move house, but then you get someone else to choose the best new house for you, and you have to accept the choice they come up with even if you think it is inferior to your current house..

So the key arguments for a second referendum are that the alternative to EU membership was not specified in the first referendum (they were also unknown at the time, and depend on what can be negotiated from the EU), and that these alternatives are very different from each other. I cannot see the logic in saying people should have a direct say on whether to leave the EU, but no direct say on what to leave it for. [2]


[1] I choose an analogy involving an individual rather than a group or society as a whole to avoid the (well known to economists) problems associated with non-transitive preferences for groups of individuals: see Jonathan Portes here.

[2] Note that I make no reference to voters being lied to in the first referendum. My argument still holds even if Leave had been completely honest.  

59 comments:

  1. I think there's a reasonable argument that rather than a referendum, Parliament should be voting on the options?

    I don't know which is better, but I think a Parliamentary vote in theory satisfies your question in British democratic terms?

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is useless and must be dismissed. It is logical, simply but thoughtfully argued and worst of all by an some-one who has in the past revealed himself as 'an expert'.

    ReplyDelete
  3. "So the key arguments for a second referendum are that the alternative to EU membership was not specified in the first referendum (they were also unknown at the time, and depend on what can be negotiated from the EU), and that these alternatives are very different from each other."

    Minor issue: For me (as German) this argument does not work. The UK voted for Brexit and not for a certain status afterwards.

    The major issues: If the EU accepts the results of a second referendum then it would confirm the position of the Brexiters, i.e. the EU is undemocratic and let people vote until the correct result is obtained. I as German oppose this approach.

    The other aspect is that a second referendum does not change the situation in the UK, your secondond referendum would not lead to a solution of the issues within the UK in respect to the EU, it would only be an excuse to nurture the anti-EU stand of half the UK population.

    The better approch IMHO is that UK leaves the EU and after a few years reapplies when people actually voted for politician that show a credible pro-EU stand and are able to sell this to the EU voters. A nice byproduct would be a few years with better domestic political discussion in the UK.

    Ulenspiegel

    ReplyDelete
  4. If the general populous can't fully understand the decision to Leave the EU or not, how the hell will they understand the subtle and complicated differences between the different possible future relationships with the EU?

    Very few would vote for a Norway option because it is very similar to staying in the EU, a lot may vote for a trade deal and I'm sure many would vote for just abandoning it all together and resorting to WTO rules because that would give us the most 'sovereignty' and 'freedom'.

    I think it's very unlikely that the vote to leave will lead to a significant recession so it's unlikely that voters' opinion will change. This country is too xenophobic and nationalist.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Given that the 48% Remain voters would probably in totality opt for an EU plus then if only 3% of the other voters favour it then it is likely to be the most popular solution. In reality it's likely to be more like 10% so the Norway solution is likely to carry the majority support.

      That is th trouble with this current debate people only consider what the majority of Leave voters are considered to want, not the electorate in total and that has to stop if the country is to be brought together.

      Personally I think we're going down the wrong path Article 50 clearly hands a massive negotiating disadvantage to the UK the moment it's triggered. So go to the EU state we will leave via a new Treaty & negotiate a bespoke UK / EU agreement that is not Norway, or Canadian or WTO but suits the unique circumstances of this situation.

      Delete
  5. No. A second referendum may be a good idea in time, but now is not the time to be discussing it - it is callow politics and a vote loser for any Labour Party leader serious about regaining power:

    https://www.buzzfeed.com/chrisapplegate/why-a-pro-eu-party-could-be-screwed-in-the-next-election?utm_term=.phmvGqB3L#.ere0XoVYW

    Let voters feel the consequences of Brexit before offering a second referendum or an election on the issue: they'll come round over time if the economic consequences are as dire as you predict.

    I agree with you on principle, by the way, I just think it's poor strategy to go all in on a second referendum so soon after voters have made their choice clear. Give them time to clear their heads, realize that we haven't regained our sovereignty, funded the NHS or been liberated to take to 'the open seas' to make deals with those who aren't interested in making deals with a little island. Let's take the heat and emotion out of the issue: once people come to terms with our diminished status in the world, they just might come around. In the meantime we should be tipping the wink to the EU that we'd really like to maintain access to the single market despite our silly rhetoric.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Long time reader, Mr Wren-Lewis and I've enjoyed the variety of subjects that you discuss and promote through this blog.

    However, I strongly disagree that a referendum is the right way to make the final decision between 'leaving the EU with our new trade agreements' or 'going back to how it was before'.

    The main problem I have with referendums, is that there is no accountability and little planning for how to achieve those aims.

    Taking the question on as a manifesto commitment allocates responsibility to the Government that is elected and makes it very clear that they have earned the mandate to go forward.

    It also ensures that the Government at the time has to have come to a decision before going into a General Election on which side of the pro-/anti-EU divide they and their voters really stand on.

    ReplyDelete
  7. But when would a 2nd referendum be held?

    Before submission of article 50 we won't know what the alternatives are (as formal negotiations cannot commence until then), or after article 50 when we are already fully committed to leaving (as it is supposedly irreversible)...?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Forget formality. We will have a deal agreed informally before we invoke article 50, otherwise the UK gets screwed. So the 2nd referendum should be about invoking article 50 once the nature of the deal is known.

      Delete
    2. I am sympathetic to your idea but feel it is impractical. The EU have said they will not negotiate before Article 50 is triggered so all we will have is the UK government's negotiating position. In any case I do not think you are paying enough attention to the very specific promises made by the Brexit leaders. I know they did not say how they would do it but they promised no damage to the UK economy and no break up of the UK. If that cannot be delivered Parliament should vote down the legislation required for Brexit and provoke a general election.

      Delete
    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    4. There's a world of difference between "we would like a deal" and "we will have a deal", informally or otherwise. Wanting something doesn’t guarantee having it and a deal before invoking article 50 depends on both sides, or many sides if it requires EU unanimity.

      Nor am I convinced triggering article 50 can be delayed indefinitely. Not only would prolonged uncertainty be economically damaging, the politics don’t add up. Theresa “Brexit means Brexit” has to hold her party together, and more broadly the damage done to the democratic fabric if the elite are seen to be obstructing the popular will would be immense. So there’s a limited time to agree any informal deal.

      That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try for a deal in the window we have available, but I doubt we’ll get it. In any case, a second referendum needs to be preceded by a general election, in which MPs put their jobs on the line, if it is to have any democratic validity. Parliament can’t just revoke a pledge because it didn’t like the answer.

      Delete
    5. Another reservation about an “informal deal” is that it offers no guarantee. Trade deals are notorious for hinging on points of detail that can scupper them at the last minute. There are also limits to what other EU leaders can offer: how much is anything promised by Hollande worth ahead of next year’s presidential election?

      Delete
  8. Interesting Simon, but surely the fundamental problem with a second referendum is that the promise or even prospect of one would change the calculus of the EU. Assuming the EU's 1st preference is for the UK not to leave at all, if a second referendum is offered or even implied by the UK government, the EU has every incentive to offer a very poor deal, in the expectation that it would be rejected when it came to the vote. Conversely, if a second referendum is denied by the UK government - 'Brexit means Brexit' - and all other things equal, the EU will seek the least damaging deal. To extend - and query - your metaphor, the incentive for your estate agent to find you a nice new house is greatly reduced if you can reject their choice. Makes sense if the agent wants you to move, but not so much if (bizarrely) they prefer you to stay put. And this, surely, is the position of the EU.

    Why would the UK government offer a second referendum when it would incentivise its negotiating partner to adopt a hardline position? Perhaps in order to offer a lousy deal in the expectation that it would be rejected. But aside from being very high risk (imagine if the lousy deal was accepted after another tawdry campaign) it could easily be portrayed as a stich-up by Brexiteers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I assure you EU governments already have a very strong incentive not to offer the UK a good deal, which is to avoid other countries going down the exit route. On the other hand the prospect of another referendum would give the UK government the incentive to choose a form of Brexit the majority of voters want, rather than the one that will keep the Conservative party together.

      Delete
    2. And why do they do that? Why shouldn't countries be able to exit if they want?

      How can you support these people given the actions of the EU?

      Delete
    3. The problem is that the voters would prefer a deal which allows them to maintain all the benefits of the EU without the costs. This deal would be their preference and would likely not be acceptable to the EU leaders.

      Delete
  9. I have not done a survey in any way, statistically meaningful or not, but in the various debates in which I have participated on the question, those who seem to oppose the second referendum seem, to me, to demand that Brexit means good riddance to Europe, i.e., dealing with Europe under WTO terms.

    Perhaps my impressions are mistaken, but that is the take on it. They cannot even concede that Farage and Co. themselves had stated that 52-48 the other way (i.e., to remain) would not have settled the question and would have meant the battle was to be continued (but 52-48 to leave is the final answer).

    Basically, my answer is the right one. Any other answer is not acceptable. Much as they like using the term 'democracy', ironically those I have encountered arguing against a second referendum seem to show themselves unwilling or incapable of understanding the fundamental concept of democracy).

    ReplyDelete
  10. I think this is a more sensible reaction than just bewailing the stupidity of the electorate. One of the factors that made me vote for Leave was that the EU is a vast bureaucracy that is not really in touch with its constituent states. Their policies and rules are "one size fits all" and are working very much to the detriment of the PIGS at the moment. A sensible approach would be to try to get some much-needed flexibility into the system. The trouble is that it needed the BREXIT vote to kick-start this type of thinking, if indeed it has.

    ReplyDelete
  11. There's obviously no point having another referendum to give Remainers a chance to switch to Leave, as Leave is what we will do without another referendum. It must therefore be to give Leavers a chance to switch to Remain, once they see what the deal is. As you rightly say, the two options are essentially Norway and Canada. I haven't met a single Leaver who doesn't prefer either of these options to staying in, however they rank them against each other. So not much point in holding a referendum for them, either.

    ReplyDelete
  12. You really aren't a democrat, are you? If we'd voted "Remain" the EU, the UK and the wider world would have changed with the passage of time, which all would have meant that the state of affairs we'd opted to "Remain" with wouldn't obtain. Does anyone seriously believe that you'd be arguing for another vote, because when people had voted for "Remain" they didn't know what they were voting for? People said that we couldn't spell out what "Leave" looked like, neatly forgetting that we've no idea what "Remain" would have looked like. Did anyone think that the ECJ would decide that it quite fancied having a wee go at being a Human Rights Court? Can anyone be sure that the ECJ won't do exactly what the US Supreme Court has done for 200 years, i.e. favour the "federal" branches that it has most in common with? If we discovered that other EU members backed the ECJ's judgment that treaty change was not necessary when the UK thought it plainly was - my guess as to what we'd be faced with - what could we have done? So neither side could tell us what the future would be like, so the uncertainty of the future cannot be used as the basis for "best of three". We all knew the rules before the vote, and "Remain" lost fair and square. Every time someone tries to weasel out of these obvious truths it just makes it more obvious exactly how biased the political and cultural elite is, and exactly why we have to leave the EU - the highest supranational expression of this Olympian condescension.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry, but it doesn't help that the LEAVE!!!! side was ran by neo-liberals with global ties to Rothschilds financial interests and other scams. Psuedo-nationalism does not count. The reffie was a marketing campaign that had no real clear path. Deal with that.

      That is the big difference between the 1983 leave attempt.

      Delete
    2. Simon's simply saying that there is a world of difference between the various possible paths forward and we have no idea which the electorate would prefer so let's ask them. Is that really so unreasonable?

      Delete
    3. Yes, yes. And doubtless the Elders of Zion had a role there, somewhere.

      Delete
  13. Remain are really going to have to up their game. They are going to have to make the case very strongly that the Brexit agreement that is eventually negotiated needs to be given a mandate which requires a second referendum. I'm not sure we have the leadership in place to do this. Anyone from New Labour will not be taken seriously, they are too closely associated with the type of establishment (and the policies that go with it) that people have had enough of. And I do not think people are convinced by the level of professionalism shown on the Corbyn side.

    NK.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm curious as to what you mean by "the Brexit agreement". If we had stayed in the EU the terms of that continued membership cannot be known: we're one in 28, and soon (perhaps) one in thirty, or more. So what do you mean by the "Brexit agreement"? Is there a similar obligation on Remain, such that - had we voted to stay - they would have had to negotiate a mandate for that state of affairs, with a second referendum to confirm it? We voted to leave, and we'll have a future we determine democratically which will, among many other things, involve our relationship with both EU countries and the EU. Had we voted to stay we would have had a future, determined democratically within the constraints imposed, which would have, among other things, involved our relationships with the EU and EU countries. "Remain" and "Leave" are identical in that they i) propose a relationship, or an absence of a relationship, with the EU, and ii) leave us to sail the ship of state after that big decision has been made. If you want to load an extra condition on "Leave" - they have to now spell out the future in more detail than "we won't be a member of the EU" then you have to load a similar condition on "Remain" other than "we will be a member of the EU". Now the failure to recognise obvious truths such as this is exactly why Remain lost, it's exactly why this blog demands a second referendum and it's exactly why we're going to have serious civil disorder in Europe unless the political and cultural elite end this conceit.

      Delete
    2. I have many reservations about the ‘second referendum’ but Leave and Remain were not exact parallels in that far more was known about what Remain entailed that what Leave would. The problem for those of us supporting ‘Remain and Reform’ was that we were not able to explain adequately how we could reform the EU to make it more prosperous and participatory.

      It’s wrong to suggest that Brexit will mean that democracy can be exercised without constraints or that it means the absence of a relationship with the EU. In the modern world, sovereignty is relative not absolute and leaving the EU will not remove all constraints. Nor can we avoid some kind of relationship with our nearest neighbours.

      Delete
  14. Good to see you're aligning yourself with Boris Johnson, Simon! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  15. I see.

    This is essentially a second referendum. Because EFTA membership like Norway, is 99.99% the same as EU membership, but without the veto, quite ironically.

    Hence why it is acceptable to the people who support a second referendum.

    I guess I will have to campaign for Brexit/"Hard Brexit" again. Whatever you do, don't call for a 3rd referendum. This is killing me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I voted Remain, but am against the Norway option. It makes little sense to me to allow freedom of movement, pay into the EU budget and blithely accept EU rules. I think no-one would be happy with this option. (I wanted to Remain because of our influence across Europe, but that would be gone in Norway option. No idea if my preferences are common or unusual.)

      Delete
  16. A couple of problems with the idea of a second referendum.

    If the UK government took the position a deal would have to be ratified again by the whole nation then it would be in the EU's interest to offer a really bad deal in the hope the British would reject it. The UK government could not allow their position to be weakened like that.

    We simply can't go back to the status quo ante. Something has to change. Were there to be a second referendum which the government lost, then we couldn't go back to June 22nd 2016 like nothing had happened. If say the 'Norway model' was rejected then we would have to explore the Swiss or Canadian models, which would just prolong the agony.

    The mechanics of EU also works against a second referendum. Formal negotiations can't start until article 50 has been triggered. It will be quite a some time before anything can be put to the UK public, by which time we will be halfway out of the door.

    So aside from all the problems of the political acceptability of a second referendum, I don't see how it would work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is already in the EU's interest to offer the UK a really bad deal. The fact that this is not more widely understood shows how made media coverage of the referendum was. To say we cannot go back to our old status is nonsense - it just takes 3% of the population to admit they were wrong.

      Delete
  17. I feel that most of the eu have now come to terms with Brexit. What they want now is contagion and letting Britian trigger article 50 and then decide actually lets not leave after all will prompt every other country to try the same.

    It therefore seems sensible that the right will say soon after article 50 is triggered that we are not allowed back, at least for another 10 years.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I agree with the possibility of there being a second referendum. I am just not convinced that Owen Smith's tactic of saying (at this point in time) there must be one, is good tactics. Surely holding that open as a possibility is the wisest way forward, for all the reasons you state above. I think the wisdom of that position will become more obvious with time. At this moment much of the UK electorate is totally burned out with politics.

    ReplyDelete
  19. There's an interesting compare and contrast today; Larry Elliott of the Guardian announced that 'UK retail sales show Brexit effect will be more slow puncture than car crash', whilst Reuters reported on Tata Motors:

    'Tata Motors' profit was hit by forex losses of 22.96 billion rupees (258.41 million pounds) mainly due to pound depreciation post-Brexit vote and adverse commodity derivatives impact of 1.67 billion rupees in the quarter, it said in a statement on Friday.'

    I doubt that any rational person would regard a quarter of a billion going down the tubes as a 'slow puncture', just as I doubt that Tata Motors is likely to agree that there's nothing to worry about.

    We are hugely dependent on inward investment, and yet Mr Elliott appears not to have noticed this fact, presumably because his rose tinted spectacles preclude him from noticing this fact. Kama, or at least dramatic irony, seems to have caught up with him.

    ReplyDelete
  20. We have to end free movement. Overpopulation is becoming a big issue, you can't have a love of British countryside like the Brits tend to do but also love 80/90 million people. An aversion to building on it + growing population just doesn't go.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ending free movement won't stop splat unless non-European immigration is stopped, which will require a "Euro-approach". The eurozone immigration is vastly overstated. It is the non-European immigration problem that is the issue.

      Delete
  21. I think, with respect, that you're absolutely right in pointing out that the referendum did not give the government a clear mandate to do anything apart from prepare to leave the EU; and that the decisions about how this should be done and where we end up are so important and far-reaching as to require new authority from us the voters. But our recent experience surely confirms that a referendum is a thoroughly unsatisfactory way of achieving this. And in any future referendum on Europe the question would be bound to be more complicated still, so that voters would have to be asked - as a minimum - whether they approved the post-Brexit deal put forward by the government, or preferred some other post-Brexit option, or preferred to stay within the EU after all (bearing in mind that some new relationship might by then be on offer). Such a referendum would produce a lot of confusion,even more misinformation than we had last time, and no clear outcome. I think that it would be much better for Parliament to decide, following a fresh general election if necessary; and for us to abandon referenda as incompatible with our treaditional system of representative democracy. Burke was right

    ReplyDelete
  22. I think that your first sentence is the critical point. To Leave campaigners such as IDS, there is very little difference between the possible Brexit options. They are wrong, of course, but that is great perspective.

    ReplyDelete
  23. ps p. I would much prefer a vote in Parliament to a second referendum - we need to get back to Parliamentary democracy.

    ReplyDelete
  24. We need the EU to act -now- to resolve the concerns that led to the Leave vote. That's the best way to both change attitudes toward the union and give it the credit it deserves. Indeed, a near-superstate like the EU, with its sheer scale and diversity of perspective, should be able to find ways to improve the lives of those that relied on industries long gone and who fear or look unkindly towards migrants.

    The sooner the EU demonstrates that it can be a force for good, loudly, the easier it will be to demonstrate that any country would be better off in than out. I hope Junker will use the present uproars as leverage towards legislation that will, first, address the plight seen by those ageing industrial towns. And I believe that Smith, Cameron, and every other MP who wants to Remain should be working toward getting the EU to show, resoundingly, the good it can do for every one of its constituents.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Interestingly the referendum result does allow us to get a fairly accurate measure of public opinion in the electorate taking acocunt of the differential turnout by age. I did a calculation and came to 50.3% Remain, 49.7% Leave, say 50:50 since this is not a precise calculation. Then you have those residents not consulted but severely affected: under 18s, resident EU citizens, who are likely to be overwhelmingly for Remain. So there is a majority for Remain in the opinion of the country. My solution would be to put the question "How do we interpret the result of the referendum and proceed from there?" to a Royal Commission, and then to consider their recommendations. The above conclusion about the actual views of the resident population would come out. In the meantime you could sign the following petitions: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/159488 and https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/151256 and if you feel as strongly as me: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/133606

    ReplyDelete
  26. Your post combines the disingenuous and the patronising and, yet again, illustrates your desire to reverse the result.

    It is patronising because it does not recognise the seriousness with which, I am sure, most people approached this vote; it is in no way analogous to moving house.

    It is disingenuous because you don't like the result and want it reversed but there has to be some sort of rationale which is at least on the surface respectable. Also to say that it is illogical to decide to leave the EU without saying what to leave it for is, again, disingenuous. The "what for" is implicit; it is to be of the same status as the vast majority of the World and I can't see how that is difficult to understand let alone being illogical.

    As I see it the result was a decision on a question of principle which is a case where referenda can be justified. A second referendum would be about terms and, in my view, would not be justified.

    And what if the result of the second referendum said "No" to the terms offered? Does this mean that "we were wrong the first time so let's go back to status quo ante"? Or does it mean "Get better terms!".

    What you suggest will not bring clarity it will bring chaos and with it, you hope, a reversal of the original decision.

    ReplyDelete
  27. The "second referendum" should be a general election after a vote of no confidence which Labor and Liberal and Scottish Nationalists supports "Return" and the Tories, UKIP, etc. support Stay Out."

    ReplyDelete
  28. What about the obvious argument against a second referendum - that for most 'brexiters' other things mattered more than economics? I'm not saying that's right, but that's how it was.

    Surely people would need persuading across a broader agenda before seeing your suggestion as legitimate - migration, democratic deficit etc

    ReplyDelete
  29. The terms of the referendum were very clear: stay or leave. Sadly, the British electorate chose the latter. There's no appetite for a second referendum right now (though there may be in time). We just need to take our medicine and apply to join the EEA with a view to rejoining the EU once the great British public have a) calmed down and b) realised that no rational UK government will take us out of the single market. We don't need to put EEA membership to a referendum unless it's one that offers a binary choice between the EU and the EEA (though that would be foolish). If things change in the meantime, if, for example, the economy tanks and floating brexiters finally realise their folly, then there may be time to consider further referenda, or simply respond to public pressure by not triggering Article 50, but there has to be a change of heart and a process of healing first.

    I do wonder whether Simon's seeing this through a narrow British lens, as someone living on t'continent, it seems like our erstwhile partners have moved on: we've been pretty toxic over the last few years. People just look at me pityingly (not for the first time in my life, I have to say......) and say why? Why did you leave? But they show no appetite for turning back the clock. Similarly, Brexit may prove transformative. EU leaders, notably Herr Schauble and Frau Merkel have been a little more gentle and conciliatory post Brexit: there are electoral calculi at play in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands et al. We're living through very fluid times.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I find it hard to see the EEA option winning majority support. It offers macroeconomic benefits comparable to staying in the EU but it also entails making a contribution and accepting the rules, without having any say on those. It’s clearly second best to staying in the EU.

      Leavers will reject EEA as not offering any substantial change and many Remainers will also think it a bad deal. It would be unacceptable to let Port Talbot steelworks close because of state aid rules dictated by a club in which we no longer had a voice. Even the Welsh Labour MPs backing Owen Smith would find it hard to sign up to that. Brexit is going to have to involve a bilateral deal that is distinct from EU/EEA rules, and it is hard to see such a deal being struck, formally or informally, in the time available before article 50 has to be triggered for domestic political reasons.

      Delete
    2. "no rational UK government will take us out of the single market"

      Rational or not, leaving the Single Market is very much on the table. I can't see the Three Brexitiers wanting to take the Norway option of maintaining freedom of movement, paying into the EU budget and blithely accepting EU rules. Moreover, the Economists for Brexit group explicitly predicate their forecasts on the UK leaving the EU and reverting to WTO rules.

      I voted Remain, but am against the Single Market option. It would leave everyone unhappy.

      Delete
  30. Fine to have a referendum or (preferably imo) a House of Commons vote on what sort of exit is desired.

    Absolutely not okay to hold another vote to try and overrule the previous one.

    ReplyDelete
  31. It is believed this was achieved via the transfer of Public Housing stock from NSW Land and Housing Corporation to Homes North.

    SEO Perth

    ReplyDelete
  32. If the EU had taken a pragmatic stance on free movement I suspect Remain would have won. Germany was unwilling to discuss this. Why so many economists support free movement of labour when wage rates across the EU are vastly different is beyond me. The end result must be downward pressure on wages in Western Europe as well as far greater competition for jobs. What is the incentive to pay decent wages if there is an almost unlimited supply of cheap labour? The North and the Midlands voted massively for Brexit. The call for a second referendum is an insult to millions of people who have started this quiet revolution. Oh, and when people say that Brits will not do Job X or Job Y they should be forced to say - at the current wage being offered.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If this is the problem, the answer is higher minimum wages. We could do this inside or outside the EU. And before someone says higher wages would draw more migrants, remember those migrants need to have jobs here, else they must leave.

      Delete
    2. You are a not so intelligent whiner: It was an UK project to bring the eastern European countries into the EU. Everybody had the chance to limit immigration from these countries for seven years, the UK did not.

      Now to expect that other countries should change the arrangement which was your choice is rich.

      Ulenspiegel

      Delete
    3. "It was an UK project to bring the eastern European countries into the EU."

      And that is the Eu's problem - no way to reverse decisions.

      Delete
  33. 'Perhaps an analogy is that you decide one day that it is time to move house, as you are really bored with your current property and aggravated by its various imperfections.'

    The above is the premise on which the case for second referendum is argued, but I doubt that Prof Wren-Lewis would really take this rather facetious phrasing of events seriously himself.

    To admit the least is to say that to the many who voted for Brexit, it was hardly about being 'bored' and 'moving house', nor did they ever framed the choice for the wider populace (however deceptively, you might say) as such. They were not bored, but outraged, determined, threatened, alarmed; and they were not looking for a new house, but rather longed to return to the one they assumed they used to occupy. Whether that old house has the same view; the old verdant garden, and all the rest, is another question--but if one will not see this--or conveniently resort to the 'Yorkshire bums who did not know what they were doing'--he will have conveniently sheltered himself from the political passions of this affair.

    ReplyDelete
  34. The difference between Leavers and Remainers is that the former are an army and the latter are guerrillas.
    The right-wing billionaires who own most of Britain's newspapers are the Leaver’s generals who give out orders to their editors and, ultimately, their readers. They are supported by a quarter of MPs.
    Remainers read small-circulation newspapers and communicate with each other via small-readership blogs, a bit like isolated groups of resistance fighters.
    Which of these two movements is the better organised ?
    Despite these limitations, Remain won 48% of the vote which is not too surprising when you consider that Labour, with similar limitations, managed to win 30% of the vote in last year’s general election (compared to the Conservatives 37%).
    Nevertheless in both the general election and the referendum the “army” won. And for many years to come the fight will always be on the army’s terms. How many years ? Well, it’s around 60 years since Richard Doll found an epidemiological link between smoking and lung cancer and look where we are now.

    ReplyDelete
  35. This is one of the funniest things I have read about BREXIT.
    ''The best comment I heard about Brexit came from an Irish Farmer interviewed on RTE at an Agricultural Show nr Athlone.

    Q What do you think about the Brexit ?

    A Ah, Brexit ! It's just like a dog chasing a bus.

    Q A dog chasing a bus ?

    A Yes, It's instinctive that it does it, but when it catches the bus, it hasn't a clue what to do with it !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think even PM May would chuckle at that take!

      Delete

Unfortunately because of spam with embedded links (which then flag up warnings about the whole site on some browsers), I have to personally moderate all comments. As a result, your comment may not appear for some time.