Brexit anniversary: 60% of people think UK’s EU departure has gone badly wrong

From shortages of HGV drivers to tackle the petrol crisis, to empty supermarket shelves, 2021 has been awash with Brexit disruption. It comes as little surprise that six in ten voters say Brexit has gone badly wrong.

Brexit anniversary

It’s more than two years now since the slogan ‘Get Brexit Done’ was embossed on every billboard, doorstep and pamphlet during the Conservative Party’s campaign for the UK 2019 general election.

While these three little words may have helped Boris Johnson’s party secure an overwhelming majority, as we reach the one-year anniversary since the ‘Get Brexit Done’ slogan was finally delivered when the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement commenced on December 30, 2020, and the Brexit agreement has been described as “the biggest disaster any government has ever negotiated.”

“It turns out our greatest competitor on the planet is the UK government because every time they do a fantastic deal, they kick us out of that market – starting with the Brexit deal,” said Simon Spurrel, co-founder of the Cheshire Cheese Company.

And Spurrel certainly isn’t alone in his loathing of the way Brexit is panning out.

A new poll shows that a year after the UK left the EU, over six in ten voters think Brexit has gone badly, or worse than they expected.   

The findings were unveiled by an Opinium survey for The Observer, which also found that 42% of Leave voters in the 2016 referendum now hold a negative view on how Brexit has turned out.

The research surveyed almost 2,000 adults in the UK between December 21 and 23.

It found that 86% of people who voted to remain in the EU believe it has turned out badly or worse than expected. 26% of Leave voters said the deal had gone worse than expected. 16% of those who wanted to exit the EU said they had expected it to go wrong and had been proven right.

Adam Drummond, associate director of Opinium, commented on the report’s findings, noting how Leavers’ censure of the way Brexit has panned out is the most prominent finding.

“For most of the Brexit process any time you’d ask a question that could be boiled down to ‘is Brexit good or bad?’ you’d have all of the Remainers saying ‘bad’ and all of the Leavers saying ‘good’ and these would cancel each other out,” he said.

“Now what we’re seeing is a significant minority of Leavers saying that things are going badly or at least worse than they expected. While 59 per cent of Remain voters said, ‘I expected it to go badly and think it has’, only 17 per cent of Leave voters said, ‘I expected it to go well and think it has,” said Drummond.

Remain would narrowly win if a second referendum was held

A separate poll, conducted through a Savanta ComRes survey, found that if a second referendum on Brexit was held, remain would win by a narrow margin. 51% of respondents said they would vote to remain. 7% of Leave voters said they had shifted their position on Brexit since 2016 and would now vote remain.

While the surveys show that there is a proclivity among Leave voters to be more hesitant about the virtues of Brexit than previously, the Brexit-induced calamities we have seen over the past 12 months has also created an exasperated indifference about Britain’s position in European Union.

As a London-based film electrician from Manchester who had voted leave in 2016 told LFF:

“I don’t really care about Brexit and the Tory idiots running this country anymore, it’s one disaster after the next. We’ve been turned into an embarrassment, the laughing stock of the world.”

Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead is a contributing editor to Left Foot Forward.

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