UK Election – Brexit views
I have found the shift in public sentiment on Brexit to be very striking. A recent YouGov poll shows how people who want the UK to remain in the EU are a minority, even amongst those who voted to Remain.
When I listen to interviews with the voting public, I am left confused.
Many appear to talk as though fears of the impact of Brexit have been disproved (i.e. Brexit has happened already), but then others talk about making a good deal (i.e. Brexit has not happened yet). It is not clear to me if this represents a form of widespread cognitive dissonance, or if the media is splicing together pieces of interviews from different people. It is also possible that it is the media that is confused.
This table gives my brief description of the camps.
What are Re-Leavers thinking?
I can follow the argument that Re-Leavers do not want to reopen the debate, and prefer we leave than to try to change the decision. But I am left confused as to what they think is going on.
One hypothesis I have is that Re-Leavers are under the misapprehension that Brexit has already happened. My metaphor for Brexit is jumping off the ledge of a building.
Stage 1 Decide to jump
Stage 2 Jump and experience sensation of falling
Stage 3 Hit the ground
In this metaphor, we are currently at Stage 1 in Brexit.
Stage 1 It is not too late to step back from the ledge.
Stage 2 This may feel exhilarating, a sense of freedom and elation.
Stage 3 Depends on your view of the economics.
From the Leave campaign, it suggests we were on the ground floor of a prison and can now run and be free in the glorious countryside around us. My view is that we are on an upper floor and it is not yet clear how much damage we will sustain. At least some pain, likely a few broken bones, but hopefully not a critical injury.
I will do an economic analysis of Brexit and its implications for asset markets in another post.
How will Hard Remainers vote in the Election?
I found this FT graphic of the same YouGov poll enlightening. It shows why the Remain group are not having any impact and why Labour are struggling to put together any kind of coherent message.
- Hard Remainers are not uniting behind any party.
The Lib Dems are trying to court them but only a small fraction of Remainers are going to vote Lib Dem. In fact, the majority of Lib Dem voters are now in favour of Leaving.
- Labour support is split evenly between the 3 tribes.
This is why they have not formed any coherent message on Brexit at all. They are trying to appeal to all 3 Tribes, which of course turns into unintelligible policy pronouncements.
- Conservative voters are overwhelmingly in favour of Leaving.
This makes the policy message for Theresa May extremely easy.