“Brexit Campaign has the edge”
An encouraging headline in The Daily Telegraph reports an exclusive opinion poll which shows that Brexit supporters are more enthusiastic, and more likely to vote, than “Remain” supporters. I have always thought that this was the case, but it’s nice to have it confirmed by research. The latest raw preference figures give Leave a two-point lead (49/47). But if we factor in likelihood to vote, Leave has a seven-point lead (52/45).
According to Sir Lynton Crosby, now writing for the Telegraph, the Referendum result will hinge on whether voters perceive the risks of staying in as greater than the risks of leaving. The fact that voters have already identified “the risks of staying in” as a major factor is a big success for the Leave Campaign.
Tony Blair recently recognised the “enthusiasm” factor when he urged the Remainians to be more passionate. But let’s be honest – it’s kind of difficult to be passionate about staying in the EU. It’s summed up by my favourite misquote of Yeats: “The INs lack all conviction, while the OUTs are filled with passionate intensity”. We’re going to win this one on differential turn-out.
Cameron and food prices
Classic FM reports that Cameron will today claim that Brexit will mean higher food prices. It’s difficult to see how. We shall stop paying billions a year to subsidise French (and other European) farmers. We shall stop paying the EU’s Common External Tariff on food imports. I suspect that the Prime Minister will rely on a very speculative prediction that Brexit could mean a weaker Pound, which would mean higher prices for imports. Of course the Pound may weaken. And pigs may fly, in which case we can have bacon wings for breakfast.
My good friend and colleague – and UKIP Agriculture Spokesman – Stuart Agnew MEP tells me that beef could be cheaper after Brexit, and that “The reality now is that global volatility has a far greater bearing on food prices than EU membership”.
The truth is that, In or Out, no one knows what will happen to exchange rates in the future. I suspect that there will be some turbulence in the markets over the Brexit period, but my bet is that over the medium term, the Pound will appreciate. Given the choice, and having seen the €uro débâcle, would you expect the €uro to be stronger than the pound? I doubt it. ABTA might also reflect that while a weaker pound would increase the cost of foreign holidays, it would be a boost to tourism in the UK. And a welcome boost to exports.
Farmers for Brexit
Following on from food, and given the dearth of Brexit stories on today’s front pages, let’s turn to the Farmers Weekly, which is running an internet poll on Brexit. As I write, there are 2698 votes, and the current state-of-play is 68% for Leave, 23% for Remain, and 9% undecided. Of course we must heed all the usual caveats about internet polls. They’re a self-selecting sample. It could be that 68% of farmers really want to leave. Or it could simply reflect the disparity between the voting propensity of the two sides (see the first story above). Either way, it looks like good news for Brexit.
Cameron has recently been warning farmers that they will lose their CAP cheques if we leave the EU. Yesterday I Tweeted: “Cameron is warning farmers that Brexit will mean losing CAP cheques. He’s too young to remember that we had a perfectly good farm support régime before 1973”.
Firms slash recruitment, anticipating the “Living Wage”
The Mail reports that firms are cutting staff, slashing recruitment and dropping employment perks in anticipation of the “Living Wage”, which it describes as “crippling”. At first sight, this scarcely seems like a Brexit issue. But remember that Cameron is seeking some small and rather trivial changes to in-work welfare benefits for migrants, which he says will reduce the “pull factor” (though few analysts agree with him). But the Living Wage will massively increase the pull factor, and the huge disparity in wages between the UK and Eastern Europe. Without Brexit, immigration can only increase. (And then there’s Turkey…….)
Hottest February on record
Again, not an obvious Brexit story – until you consider the massive impact that Brussels’ climate obsession has had across the continent, undermining both competitiveness and energy security. The Indy is predictably alarmist.
We should bear in mind that for two hundred years we have seen a steady upward trend in mean global temperatures. This predates any significant CO2 impact from the Industrial Revolution, and is entirely consistent with well-established, long-term cyclical trends which are undeniably natural. So we should expect to have “hottest years on record” every so often – given that our records don’t go back to previous Warm Periods like the Mediæval, the Roman Optimum, the Minoan Optimum and the early Holocene Optima.
Add to that two other factors: the NASA data quoted seem to come from ground stations, which persistently return higher figures than (arguably more reliable) satellite data. Plus the current El Niño event in the Pacific, which is well-known to deliver a global temperature spike. My advice: don’t turn off the central heating just yet.