Wednesday, June 22, 2016

BTRTN Looks at the Brexit Polls

BTRTN ventures across the pond again at the behest of our British fans, who have requested a BTRTN look at the Brexit Referendum, which is tomorrow. 

What, might you ask, is the bloody “Brexit” anyway? 

“Brexit” is short for “British Exit,” in this case from the European Union – and this is an issue that is fluttering the dovecotes on the Isles, as well as the Continent, and we would do well to pay attention.

The Brits have been members of the EU for donkey’s years, and the EU by and large has been a positive force in trade and collective political power.  But while the EU has been a giant step forward in the effort to achieve a near-utopian dream for centuries – that of an economically cooperative, nearly borderless and generally war-free Europe – it has not been entirely brilliant.

The concept is fine, and many benefits have indeed occurred, but the practicality of managing the EU as one voice has nearly gone up the spout, given the differing sovereign goals and aspirations of its members.  The Greek debt crisis is one example, with Germany’s heavy-handed austerity prescription at odds with the many debt-ridden EU countries (including, of course, Greece).  Immigration has been another challenge.  Clearly, not everyone feels they are getting a fair crack of the whip. 

And in the UK, at least some of the blokes on the Clapham omnibus seem to feel that the EU has gone for the burton, and such nationalist tendencies have driven the Brexit to the ballot. 

And, to step away from our fun with British idioms for a minute, the whole campaign took a tragic turn last week with the murder of Jo Cox, a rising Labour member of Parliament and a champion for the “Remain” cause (as in, “remain in the EU”).

What do the numbers say?

I’ve been gobsmacked at the number of polls available on the Brexit, and I am ready with the verdict, though with less front than Brighton.

BTRTN predicts that the Brits will elect to REMAIN in the EU, and do so by a very close vote, 52-48.  The polls have been inching to the Remain side, and the death of Jo Cox seems to have been the turning point.  The Leaves were up by four points in the days before her murder, and now the Remains are up by about a point.  However, about 10% of those polled are undecided and that number has actually been going up.

For now, we’ll just have to kick our heels and wait for the only Brexit poll that counts, tomorrow.

For those of you less familiar with British idioms, here is a rough translation:
  • Across the pond:  across the Atlantic Ocean
  • Fluttering the dovecoats:  causing alarm or excitement
  • For donkey’s years:  for a very long time
  • Up the spout:  has gone wrong or been ruined.
  • Fair crack of the whip:  have equal opportunities to do something.
  • Man on the Clapham omnibus:  ordinary person on the street
  • Gone for the burton:  been spoiled or ruined
  • Gobsmacked:  utterly astonished
  • Less front than Brighton:  not with self-confidence
  • Kick our heels:  forced to wait for the result or outcome of something 

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