POLITICS

Jeremy Corbyn's 'Brexit Blairism' And 5 Other Things Experts Found A Year On From The Referendum

It turns out EU citizens have more rights in the UK than Brits!

22/06/2017 00:01

They might be the scourge of Michael Gove, but experts have carried on regardless since last year’s Referendum.

To mark a year since the vote, 38 leading academics have come together to produce EU Referendum: One Year On, a series of reports on various aspects of Brexit.

Here are six of their top findings.

1) The majority of people want a Hard Brexit.

When people are told the different options available to the UK after Brexit – but not told if these are ‘Hard’, ‘Soft’ or ‘No Deal’ – the Hard option is the most popular. Additionally, if the UK were to walk away from the negotiating table without a deal, this would also be popular with the majority of Brits.

 2) Theresa May has virtually no way to get her MPs to do what she wants on Brexit.

Of the eight techniques and scenarios used by party whips to make sure MPs toe the line, none are now available to Theresa May, according to Philip Cowley

Hoping MPs agree with what they are being asked, a large majority that can absorb rebellious parliamentarians, and promising promotions to those who dutifully follow the whip are all scenarios which will not apply when it comes to voting on the Brexit deal.

Other tactics include reminding MPs the matter being voted on is a manifesto pledge and even threatening to call a General Election if the Bill is defeated, are not applicable.

Cowley writes:

There is no majority. There are only a handful of new Conservative MPs. No MPs – old or new – are
thanking the prime minister for her magnificent
election campaign. The Conservatives have been in
government for seven years now, either alone or in
coalition, and the habit of rebellion has built up on
the backbenches. Whatever else it is, Brexit is not
a low salience issue, and whilst the fundamentals
of Brexit were sketched out in the manifesto, much
of the detail that Parliament will have to vote on
over the coming years was absent. This last factor
would have caused a problem in the House of
Lords in particular, even if the Conservatives had
won the election.

3) Jeremy Corbyn Echoed Tony Blair By Appealing To Both Leave and Remain Voters.

The upsurge in the Labour vote in Remain areas took place despite the party having a similar position to the Conservatives on Brexit – although the party’s manifesto was less than clear. Robert Ford, Matthew Goodwin and Maria Sobolewska branded this as “Brexit Blairism.”

Faced with a complex issue where his party’s traditional position was a long way from the median voter’s, 
Mr Corbyn embraced the pro-Brexit position of the median voter, even at the risk of antagonising the strongly pro-EU segments of the Labour coalition, in a move reminiscent of an earlier Labour leader’s.

In 1997, Tony Blair gambled that he could pitch to the centre ground on economic issues while retaining the loyalties of working-class left wingers. On Brexit, Jeremy Corbyn pitched to the Eurosceptic centre ground by invoking Article 50 and accepting the end of freedom of movement, gambling that Remain voters alarmed by Theresa May’s shrill rhetoric and hard Brexit policy would recognise that Labour was the only viable alternative.

This Brexit Blairism helped blunt the Conservatives’ appeal in Leave areas, while allowing Labour to capitalise on alarm with Theresa May’s Nigel Farage tribute act in Remain areas.

4) The Metropolitan Elite Are Going To Be Affected Far Less By Brexit Than Those Who Voted Leave.

According to Philip McCann and Raquel Ortega-Argiles, London – the home of the oft-lambasted “metropolitan elite” – is “less dependent on the EU for its prosperity than anywhere else in the UK.”

Conversely, those regions that voted Leave are the ones most reliant on EU markets. The report authors claim that the Leave campaign’s attack on the “metropolitan elites” during the referendum was “never based on any empirical evidence.”

5) The Brexit Divorce Bill Could Be €30billion, But No One Really Knows. 

Before the referendum, it was all about the money the UK would get back from leaving the EU, including that £350million a week which could be spent on the NHS – a claim which was “repeatedly shown to be exaggerated” according to Iain Begg.

Since the vote, the talk has turned to what the UK must fork out as it leaves – the divorce bill.

This financial settlement takes into account EU programmes the UK has committed to pay for but not yet handed over any cash, pension liabilities and other assets.

One figure knocking around Brussels is €100billion.

Begg crunched the numbers and came out with his own calculation.

“Best guess? Around €30billion,” he wrote.

6) EU Citizens Actually Have More Rights In The UK Than UK Citizens.

It wasn’t covered in the report, but at the briefing to launch the document Jonathan Portes pointed out a strange anomaly around the issue of EU citizens rights in the UK:

EU nationals here actually have in some limited respects rather more rights than British nationals here. Now that seems counter-intuitive, but we actually give more rights to EU citizens than we give to our own citizens -particularly in respect of marriage rights.

If I married an Indian and wanted her to come and live with me in this country I have to demonstrate that my income is above a certain threshold as well as jumping through various other hoops.

If on the other hand a French national living in London wishes to marry precisely the same Indian he doesn’t have to go through those hoops.

That is because Theresa May, in particular, took away those relatively unconstrained marriage rights from British nationals but the European Union wouldn’t let her take them away from EU nationals living here.

The EU allows member states to discriminate against their own nationals, but it does not allow them to discriminate against nationals from other countries. It’s something of a catch-22.

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