This blog is hosted on Ideas on EuropeIdeas on Europe Avatar

Britain is naturally a pro-EU country

Although hard to believe now, for most of the UK’s four decades as a member of the European Union, Britain didn’t want to leave. On the contrary, most Brits wanted us to stay.

What’s the proof of that? Well, apart from polling over the years, look at governments and general elections.

  • From 1959 to 2016, every UK government and every UK Prime Minister strongly wanted Britain to be a member of the European Community.
  • Since we joined the Community in 1973 right up to 2016, at every general election, all the main parties wanted us to stay in the EU, with just one exception.

What was the exception?

It was the general election of 1983, when Labour’s manifesto – described then as ‘the longest suicide note in history’ – pledged to get Britain out of the European Community.

Labour lost that election by a huge landslide. Arch Eurosceptic, Tony Benn, lost his Bristol seat.

Since then, Leaving was a minority call on the far side lines of British politics for most of our decades of membership.

Just two years before the referendum, in 2014, Ipsos Mori polling showed that Britain’s support for wanting to remain in the EU was the highest it had been in 23 years – 56% in favour of remain, just 36% for leave, as reported at the time by The Guardian.

This, despite the apparent rise of UKIP, that the Tories and Labour seemed so scared about.

No alt text provided for this image

The Guardian from 22 October 2014

A year later, in 2015, the Ipsos Mori poll showed that support for continued EU membership was even higher – a staggering 61% in support of remaining, with just 27% supporting leave, as reported by The Independent.

No alt text provided for this image

Independent from 19 June 2015

What does this all mean?

It means that many, if not most, of those who voted Leave in the 2016 referendum would have voted Remain just a year or two earlier.

Somehow, in the months, weeks and days leading up to the referendum, many of those who previously would have supported Remain were cajoled and convinced to switch to Leave.

Of course, many of them now realise that they were conned with lies and false promises in what was a fundamentally flawed referendum. That is going to become more apparent from 1 January 2021 onwards.

  • That’s when Brexit arrives for real.
  • That’s when all of us can compare Brexit Britain with Remain Britain.
  • And that’s when the truth will trump the lies.

It’s when it will become increasingly, painfully and shockingly obvious that Brexit cannot deliver its promised land, and that Britain – and Britons – were better off remaining in the EU.

Remainers – now Rejoiners – must be ready to say to vast numbers of ex-Leave supporters:

“Welcome back. We missed you.

“Let’s now work together to undo the mess of Brexit; legitimately, democratically and with a huge show of numbers.”

  • 8-minute video by Jon Danzig: Why the EU was started and why Britain joined.



Comments are closed.

UACES and Ideas on Europe do not take responsibility for opinions expressed in articles on blogs hosted on Ideas on Europe. All opinions are those of the contributing authors.