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Brexit

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I haven’t been able to locate any international surveys on Macron vs. Le pen like there were for Trump, unsurprisingly so, since France is after all less important than the US.

Still, I have been able to find polls from Germany, Russia, and the UK.

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zdf-poll-germany-le-pen

According to a ZDF poll of who would be better for Germany (April 28), some 90% of Germans supported Macron (adjusting for “don’t knows”).

Even AfD voters only favor Le Pen by the thinnest of margins.

***

. Total Moscow & SPB cities with ~1M people cities with 500k-1000k cities with 100k-500k cities with <100k Rural
Macron 8 9 8 11 5 11 6
Le Pen 61 69 61 63 63 57 58
Neither/don’t care 26 18 27 24 24 30 28
No answer 5 4 4 2 8 2 8

According to a VCIOM poll of whom Russians sympathize with (May 2), Marine Le Pen would beat Macron 86%-14%.

That is almost the exact inverse of her results in Germany.

***

yougov-poll-uk-le-pen

Curiously, even though they disliked Trump almost as much as the average German, the Brits have a much more positive outlook on Le Pen according to a YouGov poll (April 24).

Only 53% of Brits thought Macron would be better for Britain.

The results, predictably, followed party lines. Labour, the LibDems, and the SNP were strongly for Macron; the Conservatives leaned towards Le Pen; and UKIP was overwhelmingly for Le Pen.

This is basically an extension of attitudes towards Brexit.

yougov-poll-uk-le-pen-brexit

This makes sense. At a minimum, a Le Pen in power in France would make the UK’s own process of exiting the EU much easier.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Brexit, Elections, France, Opinion Poll 
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brexit-triggering

Article 50 has been triggered in the UK, after many merry months of triggerings of… another sort.

There has been a lot of wishful thinking in British liberal circles that some way would be found to circumvent Brexit. But calls for “the elites” to “rise up against the ignorant masses” were never realistic*, for all the childish tantrums on social media and the MSM. The Conservative Party has no good reason to torpedo itself by going against the democratically expressed wishes of its core electorate, the Middle Englanders who overwhelmingly voted Leave, and so the button was pushed as soon as all the judicial delaying procedures were exhausted.

I have been consistent that the adverse economic effects of Brexit have been greatly exaggerated by a Brexit-averse Establishment. As Bryan MacDonald pointed out last year, the apocalyptic rhetoric has consistently failed to translate into reality, and there is no reason to expect that to change.

To be sure, some global banks and companies will redirect more of their staff to Frankfurt, but London remains the world center of the financial industry – more so even than New York – and the concentration of human capital that props it up isn’t going to evaporate over a single year, or ten.

In the meantime, growth rates remain solid (the figures sync with my own impressions when I was in London), the devaluation is making British exports more competitive, and there will be a fiscal upside once the UK no longer needs to subsidize East European welfare leeches (currently, the average Briton paid a net 500 Euros to the EU in 2010-14).

brexit-2017

I also believe that the renewed worries about Scottish independence are exaggerated, the hystrionics of J.K. Rowling and Dawkins regardless. The Scots don’t want to hold a second independence referendum, and “No” consistently leads by at least 5 percentage points, just like in 2014, when they rejected it by a 10 percentage point margin.

Obviously the Scots are not very happy about Brexit, having voted against it 3-to-2, but it is still not something they want to break the Union over. The most likely avenue by which support of independence could grow is if the UK were to experience severe economic hardship as Brexit gets underway, but as I noted above, that is unlikely to happen.

* I gave a 90% chance of Article 50 getting invoked this year in my predictions for 2017, so I am not making this up as I go along.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Brexit, European Union, United Kingdom 
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brexit-vote-prediction Unless there is a truly stunning reversal soon, a victory for Remain is increasingly looking to be mathematically impossible.

England outside London is voting 60% Leave. The two biggest Remain hotspots, London and Scotland, do not have the numbers to make up for it.

Meanwhile, Wales and Northern Ireland are too evenly divided and too low in numbers to make a big difference anyway.

As of the time of me writing this sentence, Leave is on 53% and that is despite the fact that thrice as big a share of the votes have been counted from Scotland as from England.

The Independent has a list of regions (see full map right) to watch as bellweathers of the referendum result which are predicted to get 50/50 in the event of a split vote. In the event, these bellweathers seem to be consistently voting around 55% in favor of Leave.

(1) This looks like it is turning out to be yet another disaster for British polling.

Whereas it was predicted that in the last days British voters tend to shift to the status quo, drawing on the experience of the Scottish referendum, it appears that the true underweighing was with regards to conservative positions. This was demonstrated during the UK 2015 general elections, which pollsters predicted would be a close run thing but in reality saw a decisive Conservative win. In other words, their tendency to underweigh conservative voters – the “Shy Tory” factor first identified in 1992 – remains as prevalent as ever.

Also contrary to conventional wisdom prior to this referendum, online polls have turned out to be more accurate (or rather less wrong) than telephone polls.

(2) It appears that Thomas Mair’s murder of Jo Cox did not impact on the Leave campaign as many people – myself included – anticipated it would.

eu-doesnt-take-no-for-answer(3) What comes next? Well, again assuming no stunning reversals, this is going to be a long, drawn out process.

First, as many referendums and dank memes attest, the EU doesn’t like to take no for an answer. This will be a long and drawn out process. The Guardian, the voice of the British neoliberal Left, is already beginning a discussion on whether the EU referendum is legally binding.

Alexander Mercouris argues the effects either way won’t be big because he no longer sees the UK as an influential Power. There is merit to that interpretation but I think he overdoes it. The EU is a fragile construction and once a big member leaves there might well be a tipping point, especially since the remaining rich members will have to foot more of the bill for Eastern Europe’s “convergence” funds and bailing out Greece every other year.

I think the effect on the British economy will be modest. All the economists forecasting doom belong predominantly to a London/Brussels/Frankfurt centered class that tends to have overly inflated ideas of the importance of the finance sector and free trade to economic growth (which Brexit is going to impact far more modestly and gradually than they project anyway). This is not to say I agree with Eamonn Fingleton that protectionism is some sort of panacea either (that particular honor belongs to human capital). But being outside the EU is not some kind of economic death sentence. It’s not like Switzerland is a byword for poverty and isolation.

 
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Anatoly Karlin
About Anatoly Karlin

I am a blogger, thinker, and businessman in the SF Bay Area. I’m originally from Russia, spent many years in Britain, and studied at U.C. Berkeley.

One of my tenets is that ideologies tend to suck. As such, I hesitate about attaching labels to myself. That said, if it’s really necessary, I suppose “liberal-conservative neoreactionary” would be close enough.

Though I consider myself part of the Orthodox Church, my philosophy and spiritual views are more influenced by digital physics, Gnosticism, and Russian cosmism than anything specifically Judeo-Christian.