Brexit opinion is turning
In the wake of some damaging exchanges with her own MPs in the commons, Theresa May is licking her wounds and seemingly forging ahead with her plans for leaving the EU, even going as far as to release a bizarre video on Twitter about being now able to forge ahead with an ‘orderly Brexit’, which presumably is included within the wider parameters of “Brexit means Brexit”.
Sajid Javid has also come out this week to proudly declare that he’s sorted the issue of settling EU citizens who have worked here and paid taxes here for over 5 years by making them pay £65 to prove that they live here and aren’t a criminal, whilst charging their kids £32.50 for the same privilege.
With Brexiteer’s dreams of a glorious trade deal with the US also currently in tatters after The President apparently declared a trade war on just about everybody else in the world, things are starting to hot up in terms of the potential economic damage from leaving the EU.
The Economist published an article this week entitled The economy has slowed to a standstill, largely because of Brexit, which talks of the massively underwhelming economic figures coming from key industries such as retail and construction.
Perhaps one of the most depressing paragraphs of the article read “Today the average employee’s pay packet is roughly 3% smaller than might reasonably have been expected in June 2016, when real wages were moving up. Brexiteers who emphasised how much Britain allegedly pays to the EU will be interested to learn that, across the whole economy, that adds up to around £350m a week in lost earnings. Growth in household spending, which accounts for some 60% of GDP, has slowed.”
It went as far as to say that it wouldn’t be pessimistic to presume that the economy could enter recession before the end of the year.
Not deterred by the doom and gloom nature of Brexit news for the week, Airbus have also come out to say that they’re seriously considering upping sticks and leaving the UK due to the uncertainty surrounding Brexit negotiations.
Apparently unimpressed with the government’s triumphant declarations that they’ve finally stopped fighting each other, the company has released a warning and a huge reality check for those who think things will work themselves out.
Airbus generates around 100,000 jobs in the UK, including 14,000 directly employed by the company. Tom Williams, the chief operating officer of Airbus Commercial Aircraft, appeared on Radio 4’s Today programme and said “We are seriously considering whether we should continue that development or we should find alternate solutions.
Over the next weeks we need to get clarity. We are already beginning to press the button on our crisis actions ... We have got to be able to protect our employees, our customers and our shareholders and we can’t do that in the current situation.”
In line with this increasingly bleak economic picture was a poll released by Survation which shows a sizeable majority now believe that a second referendum should be held over the terms of the final deal.
According to The Evening Standard, who published the findings, support for staying in the EU is now 53 per cent compared to 47 per cent who still back Brexit.
Polling for ITV’s Good Morning Britain found that 48 per cent of those questioned wanted a second referendum on the final Brexit deal, against just 25 per cent who did not.
Almost half (47 per cent) of more than 1,000 people questioned thought leaving the EU without a deal would be bad for Britain, compared to 32 per cent who said it would be good for Britain.
Only 35 per cent of people said Brexit would be good for the UK economy, while 39 per cent said it would be bad.
The results are significant in that they now show a large majority of voters are of the opinion that Brexit will damage the economy, and that they will be personally worse off as a result. Not just that, but a majority now believe that the public should have the final say over what deal the UK agrees.
Whether this shift in opinion yields a change in government policy remains to be seen, but at the rate we’re going don’t be surprised if the government sits up and starts to take notice.