On New Years’ Eve former Labour minister Andrew Adonis grandly declared on Twitter: ‘The campaign for Britain to rejoin Europe starts at midnight.’ Since then it’s not exactly been going swimmingly. The last nine weeks have seen a stark contrast between vaccine procurement and rollout in Brussels and in Britain, replete with swipes at the Oxford jab, sneers at the UK’s vaccine nationalism and even the spectre an Irish hard border in January.
Adonis will join other Remainer panjandrums like Michael Heseltine and Caroline Lucas this weekend to discuss precisely these issues at the European Movement conference, whose programme incidentally makes no mention of the word ‘vaccine.’ Mr S thought it would be helpful to such ardent Europhiles to see how views on rejoining the trade bloc after months of simmering tension. A new poll for The Spectator by Redfield and Wilton — with a sample size of 1,500 — saw the public quizzed on Wednesday on attitudes towards Brussels since the beginning of the recent squabbles over vaccine procurement.
By a margin of two to one, Brits now have a more positive attitude towards the UK’s future outside the EU than negative, with the former view attracting 37 per cent and the latter 19 per cent. Nearly half however — 45 per cent — say their view of the UK’s future outside the EU has not changed, following the recent dispute over vaccines.
This leads on to 35 per cent saying they are now less likely to support re-joining the EU, whereas 23 per cent say they are more likely to support re-joining. A further 26 per cent say they are neither more nor less likely to support re-joining and 15 per cent don’t know.
Export bans have been mooted ahead of today’s crunch EU summit on next steps to aid vaccine rollout across the continent while Boris Johnson declining to rule out ‘measured and proportionate’ countermeasures if this happened. Public attitudes show a 10-point margin in favour of such a move, breaking down 39 per cent to 29 per cent on the question of a retaliatory export ban with 32 per cent saying they don’t know.
Where there is little disagreement however is that Britain was in the right on vaccine supplies, with 50 per cent backing the UK’s side on this compared to just 8 per cent who think the EU was correct. A fifth or 20 per cent opted for a ‘plague on both your houses’ approach and claimed neither side was right while 22 per cent plumped for ‘don’t know’.
Looks like Adonis et al will have their work cut out for the next few years….
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