With every day that passes since the referendum – and whatever your view on the result – there’s increasingly little doubt that David Cameron left one seriously toxic legacy by offering the question up to the great British public of whether they wanted to stay in the EU or not. The choice to leave may prove, in time, to be an inspired one or a disastrous one, but what it has undoubtedly done is open up one giant fault line in the UK’s population.
And people are getting seriously vindictive.
New YouGov research reveals a host of interesting ‘extreme’ Brexit views – from both hardcore Leavers and ardent Remainers with perhaps the most headline-grabbing message the finding that one in five Remainers declare that they would ‘consider significant damage to the British economy after leaving the EU to be a price worth paying to teach Leave politicians and Leave voters a lesson’.
Sticking with ‘extreme’ Remainers, YouGov found that a third of Remain voters would be willing to ‘accept significant damage to the British economy’ in order to stay in the EU, suggesting that they are ideologically wedded to the idea of the union, rather than for economic reasons.
Additionally, one in five of them would be prepared to accept the loss of their job, or a family member’s job, if it meant remaining in the EU.
However, the numbers for the hardcore Brexit faithful put these in the shade, with a mighty 61% of them prepared to accept ‘significant damage’ to the British economy in order to leave the EU, while 39% of them would be prepared to accept the loss of their’s or a family member’s job if it meant Brexit going through.
Furthermore, the acceptance of financial and personal hardship to leave the EU increases with age – unsurprisingly topped by 71% of 65+ Leave voters prepared to accept damage to the economy and 50% of them prepared to accept a job loss – presumably as they’re retired and have loads of money to cushion the blow. Amongst 18-24-year-old Leave voters, the percentages were just 46% and 25% respectively.
What lessons can we learn from this?
Firstly, it is clear that Remainers focusing on the potential economic impacts of Brexit are thoroughly missing the point – a majority of Leave voters are willing to take a financial hit to leave the EU; they don’t care about any dire economic warnings.
Leavers also seem more ‘committed’ to their position and willing to sacrifice more for it – more of them will take a financial hit and risk their job in order to achieve their end goal than Remainers.
So Remainers hoping that a raft of bad economic shocks will cause Leavers to change their mind and turn their backs on the whole thing? You might be disappointed – they’re in this for the dogmatic long haul.