By Gully Foyle – 3 minute read
IT HAS NOT been the greatest month for British worshippers of all things EU. It all started with the death of their favourite percentage and soon became a wake from then on.
The death of losing 4% GDP.
We are all of course very familiar with the oft-cited percentage, borne out of an average of 13 other percentages, and put out into the world by the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) in March of 2019. It is often recounted incorrectly (a somewhat ironic thing in of itself), but the saying goes that leaving the EU would mean that the UK’s GDP in the long term would be 4% lower than it otherwise would have been.
In March of this year, the OBR revisited this figure in the context of recent GDP performance and proclaimed that it appeared, from its perspective at least, that we were on track for this prediction to continue being realistic.
On September 1st, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) announced that they had also been taking stock of past figures – however its took quite a different approach. It announced it had underestimated the UK’s GDP growth by 1.8%, meaning that all of the narrative of low GDP growth for the previous 18 months went straight into the bin.
What it also meant though was that the figures the OBR had used to say that its forecasts were on track, also went in the bin – and took the 4% figure with it.
The death of rejoining the EU
After this came the discovery that the European Movement / Byline Times pollster of choice, Omnisis / WeThink, had been asking some very interesting questions in its voter intention polling for the last 10 months – and had not been broadcasting the results as loudly as some of the other polling responses.
On 18 occasions since November 2022, Omnisis had asked its polling base whether, if given the opportunity, they would vote to stay out of the EU or to rejoin. Well, it actually asked this question every single week – but on 18 occasions it also asked follow-up questions, on whether or not the need to adopt the Euro would change people’s minds. The results were consistent with every week it was asked – 45-50% of those who had stated they would vote to rejoin, changed their vote on being told it would mean agreeing to adopt the Euro as UK currency.
The weight of this cannot be overstated – consistent results in nearly a year of polling, showing that the reality of rejoining the EU held less than 30% support with the British voter (compared to the 49% remain vote of 2016). Week after week gave the same results. It does make you wonder why those funding the polling, again typically Byline Times and European Movement, didn’t advertise that the British public were quite heavily against rejoining the EU.
RIP Public Support for Rejoining the EU.
The death of mass public expressions of EU support
Finally last weekend we had the joyous occasion itself, the Rejoin March in London. The EU Flag crew were quite jubilant in their expectations for over 100,000 attendees – until they found the attendance to be around 3% of that.
Cue complaints about BBC neutrality, that the march of around 3,000 people didn’t get enough attention across its news platforms. Cue multiple prominent rejoin twitter accounts sharing footage of other protests and marches, like the workers strikes in March for example, to try and palm-off the footage as being of their event instead.
RIP groundswell of rejoin support on the streets of London.
September really has not been a good month for the remoaners and the rejoiners. One can hope with optimism that, in the years to come, we will be able to look back on September 2023 as the month the rejoin movement was laid to rest.
Gully Foyle is a passionate researcher and commentator on post-Brexit trade between the UK and the rest of the world. You can find out more on his X (formerly Twitter) profile at https://twitter.com/TerraorBust