The roots of British attitudes to Europe
Here are some pairs of statements. For each pair, please indicate whether you agree more with Statement A or statement B.

 %

Traditions v values
Statement A – ‘The best things about Britain are to do with its history, geography and traditions – things like the monarchy, the countryside, warm beer and cricket on the village green, and our history of standing alone against Hitler in the Second World War.’

44

I agree with both statements to the same degree

25

Statement B – ‘The best things about Britain are to do with its values of tolerance, democracy and fair play – things like free speech, the right to protest, and the way we have welcomed people from all over the world who wish to settle here.’

21

Neither / Don’t know

10

Has Britain been going to the dogs?
Statement A – ‘Taking everything into account – especially modern technology (such as the Internet and mobile phones), rising life expectancy, more interesting jobs, the huge choice of food, clothes, culture and leisure opportunities that previous generations could only dream of – life in Britain today is generally better than it was 30 or 40 years ago.’

40

I agree with both statements to the same degree

16

Statement B – ‘Taking everything into account – especially large-scale immigration, high unemployment, unruly schools, drug pushing, drunken hooligans, lax moral standards and  gang wars in many cities – life in Britain today is generally worse than it was 30 or 40 years ago.’

37

Neirther / Don’t know

7

Optimism v pessimism
Statement A – ‘Despite Britain’s current economic problems, I am basically confident about the long-term future. Our children’s generation is likely to end up enjoying a better standard of living than our generation, just as our generation has broadly been better off in material terms than our parents’ generation.’

23

I agree with both statements to the same degree

9

Statement B – ‘I am not at all confident that the pattern will continue, of each generation being better off than its parents’ generation. I fear that our children’s generation will find it harder throughout their lives than ours to enjoy a reasonable standard of living.’

59

Neither / Don’t know

9

British exceptionalism?
Statement A – ‘It’s understandable that people throughout the world are patriots who are proud of their own country. But Britain’s history and character make our country special. We really do have more reason to be proud of our country than people in most other countries have reason to be proud of theirs.’

25

I agree with both statements to the same degree

15

Statement B – ‘It’s natural to be proud of one’s own country, but if we are honest we should recognise that no country is fundamentally superior to any other. People in much of the world have just as much reason to be proud of their country as we have to be proud of ours.’

52

Neither / Don’t know

8

Can Britain go it alone?
Statement A – ‘In today’s world, with global trade and global companies, there are severe limits to what Britain can achieve on its own. We must work closely with other countries and with global institutions such as the United Nations, the Commonwealth and the World Trade Organisation if we are to maximise our influence and prosperity’

40

I agree with both statements to the same degree

13

Statement B – ‘The case for global rules and institutions is often overstated, and their so-called benefits an illusion. Britain is perfectly able to decide for itself how best to run its affairs and relate to other countries. Britain should seek to control its destiny without worrying about the rest of the world.’

35

Neither / Don’t know

12

For or against overseas aid?
Statement A – ‘It is in Britain’s interests to help the world’s poorer countries to become better off. This would be good for British exports and British jobs – and reduce the danger of conflict and terrorism. For these reasons there is a strong practical as well as moral argument for maintaining our spending on international development.’

32

I agree with both statements to the same degree

11

Statement B – ‘Money spent on international aid is largely wasted. It supports corrupt regimes and ends up doing little or nothing to support development or reduce conflict or terrorism. There is neither a moral nor a practical case for such spending. Britain should look after itself, and leave poorer countries to sort themselves out.’

48

Neither / Don’t know

9

A special relationship with Europe?
Statement A – ‘Whether we like it or not, Britain must work especially closely with the rest of Europe if it is to prosper in the 21st century. That does not necessarily mean accepting the European Union as it is. Nor does it mean that Britain must work for a ‘United States of Europe’. It does mean that, inside or outside the EU, we must recognise that we are a European nation.’

38

I agree with both statements to the same degree

14

Statement B – ‘As an island with a long history of connections with the rest of the world, a major role in the Commonwealth and a ‘special relationship’ with the USA, Britain has no need to give extra weight to its links with the rest of Europe. Britain is most likely to prosper if it treats the rest of Europe as no more important to us than any other part of the world.’

35

Neither / Don’t know

13

Pro-EU v anti-EU
Statement A – ‘For all its faults, the European Union is a pioneering example of the way different countries can work together for mutual benefit. Over the past half century, the EU has helped Europe to become more peaceful, democratic and prosperous than at any time in the continent’s history.’

25

I agree with both statements to the same degree

8

Statement B – ‘The EU has failed. It is expensive, inefficient and overbearing. It stops the governments of member states from doing the things they need to do improve the lives of their citizens. The EU has had nothing to do with Europe being more peaceful, democratic and prosperous than it used to be.’

52

Neither / Don’t know

14

Source; YouGov; sample 1,743; Fieldwork: August 20-21, 2012
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