MORI survey-When people understand the EU & New
Constitution - more they dislike it.
is the Government’s ally
In referendum battle
Polling data from
an unexpected source confirms the suspicion that more people know about the EU
the more they dislike it.
Eurofacts 11th February 2005
believes that the British People, when provided with the facts about the
constitutional treaty, will support it in the referendum ahead,” Denis
MacShane, the Minister for Europe declared in a letter to the Daily
Telegraph on 29th January 2005.
In the same week an
EU Commission spokesman labelled the British the most ignorant about the
Union’s prospective constitution.
“One can see a
strong correlation between level of Knowledge and support in the text”, he said.
The reality is quite
different, at least in Britain: The
more people understand about the EU in general and the Constitutional Treaty in
particular the more they [the people] dislike them.
This is borne out by
the findings of a MORI survey, which was commissioned by the BBC as part of an
Internal Inquiry into bias in its coverage of EU affairs.
This not only
demonstrates a high level of dissatisfaction with the BBC coverage of European
issues but also provides valuable insight into the nature of opposition to the
attitudes of the British public to the EU,
minority tend to hold views and distrust the media and the establishment.
They often focus on perceived corruption and
deception within the EU and British politics as a whole.
They express the
view that the BBC is both pro-Labour and pro-EU. Indeed, they tend to feel that the BBC is in the government’s
pocket, and relate this to the perception that this is linked to the licence
fee and funding.
This group tends to
have a high engagement with news and current affairs, and have a high level of
They tend to
consume the BBC’s news and current affairs coverage. That said, they feel there
often is not enough depth, detail and balance in their coverage.
They feel that
television is least able to offer in-depth coverage, which they perceive as
more the remit of radio and the Internet.
This group perceive
themselves as politically sophisticated.
They can easily interpret concise and simple coverage as Government
spin, or as a’dumbed down approach is congruent with their self-image as
educated people, both generally and in respect of the EU, who can make informed
This group welcomes the idea of discussion and
So here is clear evidence from an
impeccable neutral source that in the
case of the EU familiarity does indeed breed contempt.
Government does often behave as if it were frightened about the consequences of
being found out on Europe.
Mr Straw demand that
“a patriotic case for the EU” should be
made, but steadfastly refrains from actually making a case.
periodically calls for ‘Battle to be joined on Europe’ and, having once suggested that the Constitution was
a mere tidying-up exercise now says the referendum presents ‘a once in a
generation chance’ to settle Britain’s
Europe- but he stays away from the sound of battle.
say that they favour greater public ‘education’ about the proposed
Constitution, but unlike their French counterparts they seem happy that the
British public should vote on the matter without being given copies of it to
Moreover, critics of
the text can and do quote chapter and verse in support of their criticism;
Ministers make vague unsupported and sometimes untrue [Surely not]
generalizations asserting-quite falsely-that the Constitution will give
National Parliaments more control.
The publication of
the referendum question-‘Should the United Kingdom approve the treaty
establishing a Constitution for Europe?’-appears to have allayed fears that the
government would try to rig the referendum by wording the question in order to
get the question it wants.
If a question does
not appear to be blatantly partial as some eurosceptics feared this can only be
because they had such low expectations about the likely conduct of
who framed the question do appear to have succeeded in exploiting the
‘yea-saying phenomenon’- the natural human propensity to say ‘yes’ rather than
‘no’ and the desire to appear positive rather than negative.
Nick Sparrow, the
managing director of ICM Research commented recently:
question as the Government has announced it does point people towards a ‘Yes’
answer and uses warm words such as approve’. (Sunday Telegraph, 30th
Robert Worcester, MORI’s -
Chairman has suggested in the past that the yea-saying phenomenon can make a
difference of between five and ten per cent to the result.
The yea-saying factor may well go some way to
explain a disparity between the ICM Poll published in The Sunday
Telegraph which exactly mirrored the Government’s proposed wording and that
which appeared in the Daily Telegraph the previous day which did not.
The Sunday Telegraph showed a narrow majority- 41per
cent compared to 39 per cent-opposed to the Constitution, while the polling
data published by its sister paper showed 45 per cent opposed and 24 per cent
What does all of this imply for campaign
strategists? Logically speaking, the
Government’s interests are likely to be served by a campaign that leaves voters
more confused and ignorant about the text and its impact on British
The eurosceptic cause is served
by respect for the facts, by encouraging the closest possible scrutiny of the
treaty text and by keeping a close and unrelenting watch on the referendum
Over the referendum the Government faces the risk of
unprecedented humiliation. It is important
that the eurosceptics do not let it off the hook by losing sight of the central
objectives or by permitting party of factional differences becoming so
bitter that they cannot work with one another.
THE QUESTION THAT THE VOTER MUST ANSWER
‘DO YOU WISH TO BE GOVERNED BY YOUR OWN PEOPLE, LAW AND CUSTOM OR BY
THE CORRUPT ,EXPENSIVE UNACCOUNTABLE AND ALIEN BUSYBODY BRUSSELS’ -SIMPLE IS IT NOT?
altered-bolding used-comments in brackets]
Daniel Hannan - Forming an OPPOSITION to the EU
WITH THE ONLY PARTY WITH A MANDATE
TO SET YOU
TO RECLAIM YOUR DEMOCRACY DON'T VOTE FOR THE
TRIPARTITE PARTIES IN WESTMINSTER
SMALL PARTIES THAT SPEAK THEIR MINDS
WITHOUT SPIN AND LIES.
Home Rule for Scotland
HOME RULE for
[All underlined words have a separate
THE QUESTION THAT THE VOTER MUST ANSWER
‘DO YOU WISH TO BE GOVERNED BY YOUR OWN PEOPLE, LAWAND CUSTOM OR BY
THE CORRUPT ,EXPENSIVE UNACCOUNTABLE AND ALIEN BUSYBODY BRUSSELS’
-SIMPLE IS IT NOT?