Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Brexit - What do Londoners think?

In a matter of hours, Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, is expected to use a speech to outline the financial implications of a British exit (or Brexit) from the European Union. It's still very unclear when the actual referendum will be held. Some speculate it could come as soon as next spring, while others claim it might not be until late 2017.

There's no time like the present, so my colleague Diana and I took to the streets of Central London, the other day, to see what Londoners make of it all.

Here is a link to Diana's own blog post. We shared the interview transcripts for the day, so that explains why the story is duplicated somwhat.

London speaks

It's a chilly lunchtime in Regents Street. The pavements are awash with commuters and tourists, and the roads ooze the usual hubbub of traffic. A flossy store opens its doors for the day. One staff member casually admits having not voted at the general election, back in May,
and her Italian store manager jumps in. The European project is akin to some sort of "mafia", he asserts. Britain was better off, not joining the Euro, he insists, and he tells us why.

His fellow Italians are now poorer than they were when Italy joined the Euro, he explains. He is unable to say how, but he is convinced something foul is afoot, especially given the contrasting success of the German economy. The store manager has a more confident view on Britain's future. Citing British history, he is adamant that Britain is able to define itself outside the EU.

Meanwhile, outside a trendy pub, sales manager Ryan is enjoying a pint and a cigarette. "We will stay in" he says, without hesitation. He collects his thoughts for a moment, holding his cigarette off to the side. Remaining assured, he continues, "No one's really prepared to upset the apple-cart". He insists repeatedly that there is a lack of transparency about both sides of the referendum argument. Despite this, he's convinced that the British public are reluctant to do something so radical.

Whatever the date of the referendum, the polls are showing modest support to stay in the EU. One of the latest polls (linked below), provided by ICM Unlimited, shows 44% favour staying, 38% want out, and another 18% remain undecided. It's still far too early to say which way the undecideds will swing. What I can say with great certainty is that there will be great uncertainty for the duration of the campaign.


1. ICM Unlimited poll (dated 16th-18th Oct 2015)
Available at:

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