Following last night’s vote for Brexit, which was a surprise for many, including me, here’s an open thread for discussion. A few thoughts from me below.

The Brexit – Climate sceptic link

One of the most striking things has been the remarkable correlation between views on the EU referendum and views on climate, as discussed previously by Alex Cull.  Almost all of the climate sceptics in my twitter feed are Brexit supporters:

While climate activists and climate scientists were all for Remain:

In fact it’s hard to find anyone who is climate-sceptical and pro-remain, or climate-concerned and pro-leave, the two exceptions that prove the rule being Jeremy Clarkson and Jenny Jones.

As Alex suggested in his post, this may illustrate “the age-old antagonism between Freedom and Authority”, with those who have a low regard for the institutional, preachy elite tending towards Brexit and climate scepticism.

What happened?

Again, the “experts” got it wrong, as they did last May. The final Yougov poll predicted a 52-48 for Remain, getting it exactly the wrong way round. The pound surged last night as the polls closed in anticipation of a Remain win, only to fall back sharply later. The bookies got it wrong too, with odds of Brexit fluctuating around 3/1 to 7/1 yesterday. Irritatingly, I did not take up Warren’s suggestion that it was worth a punt. Clever Roddy Campbell got in at 10/1.

So how did this happen? How did a campaign led by Bumbling Boris and Flaky Farage defeat the massed ranks of the main political parties, business leaders, expert economists, top scientists and David Beckham? Answers below please.


Ben Pile has the answer — the Leave campaign didn’t win it, the Remain campaign lost it. Honourable mentions also to Lord Sugar, Nick Cohen, Polly Toynbee.


  1. “So how did this happen?”

    Well, I don’t know how Paul – BUT the UK will not be the last to leave.

    I thought the sub-headline today in the Telegraph says it for me ” The British people defied their jailers”


  2. 48% Remain vote is actually very high for two key reasons – most people are naturally precautionary (for some its even a Principle!), and most people vote out of immediate self-interest – for example, the middle class who benefit most from the “Job-creation rackets like sustainability and digital are clubs rigged in favour of the middle class” created by the European project – This vote sustains my belief in people that they will not be bullied and scaremongered by self-interested majorities. There is a definite parallel here with the advocates of anthropogenic climate change who preach fear, demand faith in authority, and threatens anyone who are not only sceptical but simply want explanations.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Glenn, yes, there are definitely parallels in the arguments and tactical blunders used by Remain and AGW-promoters:

    1 Project fear:
    Terrible things are going to happen in the future if you don’t agree with us and do what we say.

    2 Appeals to authority:
    This distinguished institution of top experts has said…

    3 Abuse of the other side:
    Anyone who disagrees with me is a racist / oil lobbyist.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My local paper – The East Anglian Daily Times – which is a strong believer in man made etc. tends to receive letters from both sides of the climate debate and the European Union, and the similarity of approach between the two issues has long struck me. The believers invariably rely on authority rather than evidence, make dire predictions if their wisdom is not followed and are unpleasantly condescending towards those who do not share their faith. Their views nearly always come across as stale and much rehearsed whereas the other side (which I support) tend to be much more fresh and open minded.


  5. I’ve long been sceptical (ever since I stared seriously studying the climate issue) and have been anti-EU for well over 20 years. I agree that the two issues go hand in hand with most people I know personally or via the internet. Integrity seems to be the key word.

    I went down to the market this morning wearing my Brexit the Movie t-shirt and everybody (well nearly everybody) was happy to share in the joy.


  6. I absolutely think it was more about the other side losing but they did suppress a lot of people who wanted to leave but were too scared. People stopped telling people how they were going to vote because they didn’t want to be blamed for the catastrophe that the Remainers were (are still unwisely) predicting. The racism card was played but has lost its impact. The Jo Cox tragedy probably did a lot of damage to the budding hope that voting out wasn’t the wrong decision.

    I think that the women of the Leave campaign deserve much of the credit from Kate Hoey from Labour to Isabel Oakeshott of the Daily Mail, Julia Hartley Brewer, Gisela Stuart and Priti Patel of the Conservatives. There were creditable contributions from the guys as I would have been expected but many of them lacked passion.

    Even Bob Ward pointed out how much Brexiteers and sceptics have in common.


  7. I’ll also add how wonderful it was that some of the best arguments for Brexit were from immigrants, Janet Daley being my favourite I think.


  8. I noticed that most people who spoke in favour of Remain did so because of the personal benefit (usually financial), whereas most people who were in favour of Brexit did so because of the future good of the country, democracy and freedom from the unelected foreign bureacracy and self-selected elite.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Congratulations! This is the first encouraging indication the public recognizes weaknesses in top-down, lock-step one-world government.


  10. At the other end, can somebody gag Anna Soubry? I’m expecting her to start singing a funeral dirge any moment. She doesn’t seem to grasp that she’s lost and has to stop talking the country down.


  11. You couldn’t make it up – apparently Polly Toynbee just suggested Anna Soubry should be the next PM.
    She’s my MP. More likely, she will be one of the ministerial casualties in the next reshuffle.


  12. It’s obvious, the climate is going to change much more quickly now the UK will not be guided by Brussels on all things environmental. That’s why very few non-sceptics were enthusiastic about OUT. In fact, it’s already happening. Yesterday was terribly, ominously grey and gloomy, with near constant rain. Woke up this morning to clear blue skies and sunshine. That can only have been the atmosphere convulsing in response to the Brexit vote. We’ll just have to wait and see what the longer term impact of the Brexit vote on global and regional climate will be.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I saw the queen of Woman’s Hour. Beggars belief. I thought Andrew Neil was trying to steer Anna Soubry to guard her words but the Remainers are in too much shock to stop acting like this is a standard election where they have to start the narrative for the next election. Thankfully it won’t be her decision.


  14. Brexit supporters should thank Obama. His attempt to influence the vote in favor of Remain may have been the straw which broke the camel’s back. His threat to send the UK to “the back of the line” surely cleared the fog from a few minds.


  15. I woke up surprised at the result, delighted by the true power of democracy and dismayed at some of the irresponsible comments from those who should know better (Anna Soubry should respect the vote of her constituents 54.6% Leave).
    I totally agree there is a correlation between CAGW advocates and the Remain campaign. From this can we hypothesise causation? Is the alarmist rhetoric of CAGW responsible for the demise of David Cameron? In the future, Will we, or our children, look back in self-flagellation that our failure to accept the Gospel of Mann resulted in the fall of the House of Osborne/Cameron?
    No. It’s bullshit, but the lesson is if you keep throwing bullshit at the people they may decide they’ve had enough of sitting in it.

    The Remain campaign’s argument was entirely based on the Precautionary Principle, the echoes are very loud.


  16. I thought it was noticeable how little climate change featured in remainers arguments: only very occasionally tagged on to a list of things we need to consider as ‘challenges we cannot meet alone’. Perhaps the penny dropped some time back that it wouldn’t sell, might even do damage to their case?

    Will Labour or Conservatives now have the guts to start dismantling the climate change act?


  17. Green blob is a cost we don’t need right now. I can see Rudd bouncing out on her bum after attacking Boris. We desperately need new power stations and energy security. Those in charge can argue that we can’t rely on sharing EU electricity in the future, so we need our own supplies.


  18. An interesting area will be those things where we would be subject to fines if we don’t meet our targets eg landfill tax.


  19. The common attribute is the flatout refusal to think out of their (remain/cagw) own position, and see what merit there is in the opposing view.
    Complete refusal. Amazing.


  20. Au contraire, it’s one thing to take down the ancien régime, but unless you have something credible to put in it’s place all you get is bloody revolution.


  21. There was a nice confirmation of some of the points made above in a series of tweets by Andrew Sparrow, the Guardian journalist who provided live coverage of the count through the night. Quoting from memory, and changing the figures to correspond to the final result, two of his tweets said:

    Experts: 48.1% – Man in the pub: 51.9%


    Glastonbury: 48.1% – Last Night at the Proms: 51.9%.

    You’d need to be a subtle observer of British culture to understand how people who like listening to Coldplay in the mud could look down their noses at people who like listening to Elgar in the Albert Hall. But luckily we have one on hand, namely Professor Stephan Lewandowsky. At

    he attributes the success of the Brexit campaign to:

    “a well-funded but nebulous network of organisations (often linked to human-caused climate change denial).”

    You couldn’t make it up. Only Stephan could do that.

    [PM: Sparrow’s tweets (chirps?) here and here. And thanks for pointing out the distinguished professor’s conspiracy theorising. ]

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Dr Lew demonstrates again he doesn’t have the mental tools to understand people who think differently to him. Of course he’ll be a little worried that the UK might not have a use for a dud psychologist who is obsessed with something most people have moved on from.


  23. Not forgetting Al Gore’s invaluable contribution:

    “The UK can best contribute to a sustainable future by staying in the EU and continuing their collective leadership on the climate crisis.”


  24. The leave assured the electorate that everything would be as usual ‘The Day After’. Well the pound has plummeted, world markets are in turmoil, and UK has gone from fifth biggest economy to the sixth. Liars tell lies and fools believe them.


  25. Anna Soubry was marginally less garrulous this evening. Naughty Nick Robinson was trying to goad her into another meltdown. She still doesn’t understand what problem people have with mass immigration.

    Silly public objecting to 5 million immigrants in 10 years without suitable provisions in schools, hospitals and housing.


  26. My (British) FB friends are now trying to engage me in debate – after the vote. Prior to vote all I got from them was propaganda or ignored. After they lost, they’re trying to convince me I was wrong. Bizarre. None of my British FB friends could be described as climate warriors, alarmists, or even lukewarmers. Yet they are lefties. I have some US/European climate alarmist, ecomodern FB friends. Not many posts from the non-Britishers, just one to two: all is doom and gloom

    I also noticed lots of tweets today bemoaning the Leave vote, more posts than before the vote! How does that work? – you do your campaigning after you lost the vote!


  27. EU fund green groups to the tune of ~ £90m/year so it’s hardly surprising that greens and GAGWers are mostly support Remain. They also look upon EC rules as good for the environment. I can easily understand why GAGWers are nearly all Remain. I don’t really understand why GAGW critics should be Leavers. British intelligentsia are mostly for Remain. Are GAGW critics rebels within the intelligentsia, or just people who see clearly what really matters?


  28. This has all been about being too arrogant to listen to people who are unsatisfied. They thought that if they made fun of people or shouted them down the feelings would go away or at least they wouldn’t be brought up. They were wrong. No two people have exactly the same issues but they know where their problems have come from.


  29. Watching the campaign from this side of the pond, I was not as familiar as I should have been with the EU’s egregious lack of democracy and maze of bureaucracy – and the appalling effects (particularly on the cc front) this has had on my (now long ago) former home. Until I saw Durkin’s excellent movie. This was a very timely eye-opener, IMHO.

    But even had I not seen Durkin’s film, the stance of the interfering foreign Remainers (Obama and his clone, Canada’s Trudeau Jr – not to mention Ludicrous Lew and the Goracle) all of whom have declared their obeisance to Gaia (and the EU “partner”, UNEP’s ever-escalating alarmist fog on the cc and “sustainable development” fronts) would have been more than sufficient to place me firmly cheering for the Brexit camp.

    An interesting take (with which I would agree, for the most part) is that of Christopher Caldwell via the (US) Weekly Standard:

    Britain Exits, Democracy Lives, And Everything Has Changed

    A dispatch from liberated London.

    [Caldwell concludes:]

    Everything is being revalued. Political institutions, too. Economic issues, fear, immigration—these all caught Britons’ attention and rallied them to the polls. But at its core this was a battle over definitions of democracy and freedom. This may have been Britain’s last chance to exit peacefully and democratically from a democracy-destroying, elite-flattering, and inequality-producing machine. You can say that Britain finds itself in a constitutional crisis today, but that crisis was revealed, not created, by the referendum vote. Most U.K. citizens repudiate the claim of foreign bureaucrats to rule them, and yet, on what turns out to be the defining issue of British politics in this generation, 478 of its elected members of Parliament favored Remain, and only 159 Leave. That will change.

    Britain is, as David Cameron said in his resignation statement, a “special country.” Its citizens are going to pay a price for flouting markets and European bureaucracies. They have gambled that what they now recover—control of their own laws—makes that price worth paying. Look at their history. They are probably right.


  30. Lord Monckton also attributes Obama’s interference to helping the Brexit cause:

    “Mr Obama’s intervention was decisive. The moment he demanded that Britain should remain within the EU, the polls began to swing against it. It was only when, in his maladroit fashion, he had sought to interfere in Britain’s decision that so many undecided voters woke up to the danger that the maneuverings and posturings of the international governing class represent to democracy.”

    If you read his entire article, you will find that Monckton has a few things to say about the AGW alarmists as well.


  31. I can’t believe what a cock up the Tories are making of this. If Labour wasn’t in an even bigger revolt, they’d be laughing their socks off. Who in their right mind would ever employ any of them, especially Cameron? He failed to understand why his people were unhappy. Offered them a referendum they weren’t expecting. Told the EU he didn’t want to leave and then went to ask for almost nothing and got less. He restricted his cabinet from planning for a referendum until he’d done his negotiation and then gave them three months to prepare. Not enough time to even sort out an official side properly. He tried to blackmail everyone into toeing his line and then got nasty when they didn’t. He allowed the Civil Service to refuse help to the Leave campaign, thereby preventing them having a plan for Brexit. He used public money to get his case in first (a rubbish case at that) and then set himself and his chancellor as lead voices in the Remain, instead of keeping himself aloof to deal with whatever resulted. He certainly hadn’t thought of a plan himself. He then threatened and bullied the public to the point of being comical and happily sneered at his own voters. The vote went the wrong way and he hurls his teddies out of the pram and quits. Particularly ironic when he’d accused Leavers of being quitters.

    He’s going to eclipse John Major, Gordon Brown and even Tony Blair as the most incompetant and hated PM in history. Three guys he thought would help sway the public to his side. Blair’s probably feeling quit good about the Chilcot Enquiry right now. He only managed to ruin one country.

    Cameron’s now getting his friends to bitch about any Leave candidates for his job. Friends who are so bitter about losing they’re making it all worse by continuing to fear campaign for an election they’ve lost.


  32. Tiny, and now Osborne has changed his story – apparently there’s no need for an emergency budget, despite what he said just two weeks ago.

    But what about Boris, what is he up to, saying there’s no rush? Could it be that he’s not really bothered about whether we leave the EU or not, but just wanted to topple Cameron and take over? Animal Farm?

    On the other side it seems that another dozen shadow cabinet members, most of whom I’d never heard of, have resigned this morning, but Corbyn is staggering on, appointing Emily Thornberry and Diane Abbott.

    Most of them seem to be either liars or fools.


  33. Globalists and “consensus scientists” are two separate expressions of totalitarianism. The collapse of “consensus science” AGW dogma is carrying the Globalists politicians down with them.


  34. I worried about Boris after his first interviews for the campaign, the arguments for leaving were pretty weak whereas others were passionate and rehearsed.

    I am horrified by both sides at the moment. Their infighting and ‘I told you so’s are making the markets and public fears worse. This is no time for politics although Cameron’s resignation does buy time to make a plan. If the EU or the markets let them. I’m not sure that it’s not a plan to scare everyone, offer a new referendum and then crawl back into the EU fold. But even Merkel is saying that Article 50 must be enacted before even informal talks start so it’s unlikely they’ll offer more for us to stay.

    Interestingly some of the delayed plans are emerging including an EU wide unemploment insurance tax. It’s presented by France and Germany and it would be a way of financing failing EU countries without giving them a politically unpopular loan. It’s evidence that ever closer union is still very much on the cards even though their populations don’t want it. If Leave were on the ball they’d be pointing out that they were right about creeping federalisation. So I don’t expect them to mention it.


  35. Paul
    The article you link to is interesting in the way so much social science is interesting these days – as an example of intellectuals reinventing the wheel – or more exactly reinventing the internal combustion engine after having, for ideological reasons, renounced it for the bicycle.

    The authors seem to accept that right decisions can be arrived at by additioning total advantages and subtracting total drawbacks (“the so-called Hicks-Kaldor criterion”). This is Benthamite utilitarianism of the most primitive kind, the naiveté of which was appreciated by his pupil John Stuart Mill, and, by Mill’s fervent critic Karl Marx. The authors update their thinking to the mid-nineteenth century by applying “the Lowi-Wilson logic”, which suggests, ever so tentatively, that advantages and drawbacks don’t always accrue to the same people. Would you believe it? Another few decades of intellectual grind and they might come to understand the concept of class struggle – the fact that the interests of the customers of metropolitan sushi restaurants are not necessarily the same as those of North Sea fishermen. Who knows? One day they might write something as perceptive as Julie Burchill’s Marxist analysis in the Spectator
    (H/T Josh at Bishop Hill for the Burchill article)

    Liked by 2 people

  36. TinyCO2 (27 Jun 16 at 9:05 pm)
    Thanks for the link. The article (by the Foreign Ministers of France and Germany) expresses (in bad English) exactly why we voted to leave:

    “France and Germany think this. France and Germany will do that. We invite the other twenty five members of the world’s greatest democratic entity to agree with us. If not, we shall piss on them from a great height.”

    Gaia wept. We’re well out. Except that we’re probably not. The media are abuzz with rumours that Cameron has mated Johnson (or “shafted” as we pro-Brexit Chavs say) and that the next Tory leader will not press the article 50 button. The best-laid Plan B is apparently to pretend not to have a Plan B.


  37. It’s rare for me to agree with George Marshall, but some of what he says in this blog post about Brexit and climate is pretty much what I said above.

    Marshall: “A key mistake of the Remain campaign was the assumption that the EU debate could be settled by statistical models and elite expert opinion.”

    Me: “tactical blunders used by Remain… Appeals to authority: This distinguished institution of top experts has said…”

    Geoff, thanks for your political insight, and the remark about updating their thinking to the mid-nineteenth century!


  38. The Julie Burchill piece Geoff links to is one of the best I’ve read so far. What she understands in this article is what Labour even now, with the evidence of Leave-voting being highest in working class areas slap-bang in front of them, will not see, won’t have and cannot accept.

    Labour could rejuvenate if they did acknowledge what happened. As it is they seem intent on fantasising themselves out of existence. Theirs is the most profound leave-campaign in all this.


  39. I’d love to point fingers at Labour but the Conservatives have imploded too. I think they’ve decided to go for an insanity plea for the Leave vote.


  40. I’ve left a comment at George Marshall’s article linked by Paul in his comment above. Climate Outreach is a blog much like ours, except that they get government funding and we don’t, and we get lots of interesting comments, and they don’t.

    On the subject of rare agreement across enemy lines, I absolutely loved George Monbiot’s article on the Brexit vote

    which begins thus:
    “Let’s sack the electorate and appoint a new one: this is the demand made by MPs, lawyers and the 4 million people who have signed the petition calling for a second referendum. It’s a cry of pain, and therefore understandable, but it’s also bad politics and bad democracy. Reduced to its essence, it amounts to graduates telling nongraduates: ‘We reject your democratic choice.’”

    Here, here, George. I’d love to add my comment to the 3300+ under your article, but alas I can’t. Some years ago I pointed out that one of your articles predicting climate catastrophe was based on research funded by Exxon, Shell and BP. You angrily asked me what evidence I had that their finance affected the results, and then instigated a campaign to ban sock puppets. Soon after I was banned from commenting at the Guardian for “continual disagreement with journalists.” I shall continue to admire your pereptive comments from afar.


  41. Example of how Guardian ReaderZombies think
    “(democracy) It’s all about people being united together and having the SAME opinions”
    Paul Watson video ..that must be why they ban counter opinions
    ..Wind it back and watch it all ..for examples of their mixed up thinking and dogmatism


  42. Stew, thanks, very good! “one of them” looks like Rod Liddle :)?

    As pointed out in the comments, the Oxford philosophy professor B J Trout seems a bit fishy and may be related to this guy.


  43. More Comedy (do youtube inline videos work here ?)
    We have got it all wrong ProgLeftDogmaticZombies are perfectly reasonable, we’ll know after the 2nd, 3rd, 4th rerun of the Brexit Referendum
    satire video


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.