International Support Swings Behind Remain

International Rescue

One of the most notable features of the UK referendum campaign has been the prominent role played by international bodies, frequently voicing support for continued EU membership. last week saw interventions from the WTO, the G7, Indian PM Narendra Modi and Canadian premier Justin Trudeau. Those followed previous statements by President Obama and the IMF. The question is whether the public is swayed by such heavyweight voices or put off by what critics claim is an establishment stitch-up. Many observers think the combined weight of these interventions will edge undecided voters towards the status quo.

Can Leave win?

Some in the Leave camp have suggested that a low turnout might hold the key to their success. They may have fewer supporters, but older people are much more likely to be pro Brexit and much more likely to vote. Leave also know their voters are motivated by issues like immigration. The political establishment may find this focus distasteful but Leavers think it will get their vote out. This core vote strategy may work, but only if a large number of Remain voters stay at home.

So turnout is crucial. Young voters are overwhelmingly splitting for Remain but a poll last week showed one in five of them were still not registered. Attempts to encourage young people to turn out via social media campaigns have been branded ‘patronising’. Labour voters more than any other group hold the key to victory for Remain, but turnout amongst them is traditionally lower than among their right wing counterparts. Will they be motivated to support Remain by a campaign dominated by the Conservatives, in which Labour figures have been largely absent from view. The other question for “Stronger In” is whether their campaign has enough of a positive offer. They have gone all in on Project Fear. Is that sufficient?

Treasury Committee analysis

The Treasury select committee published the report of its inquiry into the costs and benefits of EU membership. The committee avoided taking any overall position on the binary question, instead berating both camps for “impoverishing political debate” by making misleading and sometimes bogus claims. But its report contained a series of judgements which on balance favoured Remain. It said the evidence suggests there “will be a short-term economic cost to Brexit” and that “in the longer-term trade with the EU is likely to fall”.

While the committee noted that Brexit could create potentially beneficial opportunities to improve the regulatory framework and to strike new trade and better trade deals, it underlined the uncertainty that surrounds such claims; concluding that “reaching high-quality trade agreements with countries like China, India and the United States, while securing access to the agreements to which the UK is party by virtue of its EU membership, would be a considerable diplomatic challenge; it would take time, resources and the goodwill of other governments.”

By Lexington Communications