The Will of the People

Much is made by the Brexit bunch that the 2016 referendum represents the will of the people and must, therefore, be implemented. The same people, however, are shockingly averse to any effort to establish what the people actually want from Brexit. Now Charlene Rohr, David Howarth and Jonathan Grant have done the legwork.

But our study of what people value about the EU does tell us. And we find that their priorities map most squarely onto a Norway-style model for future relations with the EU.

People place a high value on having access to the EU markets for trade in goods and services. They like the option for the UK to be able to make its own trade deals. They also value that the UK is able to make its own laws, but not as much as access to the single market or the ability to make trade deals. They worry about freedom of movement, but mostly because of concerns about demand for public services. They strongly dislike the idea of having to get a visa to travel for their holidays.

I touched on the issue of access to public services some time ago. In short, every other EU country restricts access to benefits; the reason Britain doesn’t is that the Department of Work and Pensions IT systems are old, broken and not fit for purpose.