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British leavers and remainers as polarised as ever, survey finds

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British leavers and remainers as polarised as ever, survey finds

Brexit divisions in UK society appear to be as entrenched as ever, according to the latest British social attitudes survey, with little sign that the issue is losing its polarising force. Nine in 10 of leave and remain voters said they would vote the same way again, it found.

Although Britain’s departure from the EU pushed overall public trust and confidence in government to its highest level for more than a decade, the survey reveals that this surge in support for the UK political system came almost entirely from leave voters – with remainers as disillusioned as they were previously.

The survey co-author Sir John Curtice said the latest findings contained little to indicate that Brexit wounds were healing. “As a result, Britain is left divided between one half of the country who now feel better about how they are being governed and another half who, relatively at least, are as unhappy as they have ever been.”

The annual poll is Britain’s longest-running tracker of public opinions, building up a comprehensive and authoritative picture of how the country’s attitudes and expectations have evolved over the past four decades across a diverse range of moral, social and political issues.

The survey found that the pandemic pushed public concern over inequality to its highest level since 1998, as well as raising support for welfare benefits and public spending, but it concluded there was little evidence so far that Covid had proved a “reset” moment that indicated widespread desire for radical social or political change.

The rise in support for progressive views on these issues was an extension of existing changes over several years rather than an abrupt shift in attitudes caused by Covid. “These trends do not signify a new direction in the public mood. Rather, in many ways the pandemic has reinforced opinions and attitudes that had already become increasingly common in Britain in recent years,” said Curtice.

Nonetheless, there was a sharp rise in 2020 in the proportion of 18- to 44-year-olds who thought Britain was unequal and favoured the rich. Younger adults were also more likely than older cohorts to agree that the government should redistribute income from the better-off to the less well-off – and this could have lasting effects, the survey said.

“It may be that the exposure [young people] have had during the pandemic to relatively high levels of precarity in their early adult years will prove a formative experience that leaves a legacy of a more egalitarian generation – only future survey research will affirm whether or not that proves to be the case,” it concluded.

The most recent poll of 4,000 British adults was carried out by the National Centre for Social Research between October and December 2020, with an additional survey of 2,400 adults conducted in July 2020.

Getting Brexit “done” had marginally reinvigorated overall trust levels in the UK political system – which had hit a record low in 2019. But this mainly reflected a major shift in the attitudes of Eurosceptics, who were for the first time more likely than remainers to agree that “governments put the nation’s needs before party interests”.

The reversal of some of the damage to trust in government caused by Brexit deadlock “might be regarded as a development to be welcomed” if democracy was to function effectively, the survey said, though it added: “Restoring the trust and confidence of remain voters looks as though it is still very much a work in progress.”

While few respondents who voted in the 2016 referendum appeared to have changed their view in the intervening five years, there was evidence of a shift among those who had not participated. More than twice as many (43%) in this group said they would now vote remain rather than back leave (18%).

Trust in government had been in decline for decades, the survey said. In 1987, 47% of respondents said they trusted government to put the needs of the nation above party interests “most of the time”. This slid to a 15% low in 2019 amid parliamentary wrangling over the UK’s exit from Europe, before recovering to 23% in 2020.

This recovery, however, was largely on the back of leave voters, 31% of whom expressed trust in government, up from 12% in 2019. Remain voters largely distrusted government in 2019 (14%) and this view had changed little (17%) a year later.

The debates around inequality sparked off by the pandemic caused a small shift in public attitudes. Nearly two-thirds (64%) agreed that “ordinary working people do not get their fair share of the nation’s wealth” – seen as a proxy for levels of concern over inequality. This was up from 57% in 2019, and the highest level since 1998.

However, this was not accompanied by markedly increased support for the redistribution of wealth from rich to poor. The survey found that 46% agreed with redistribution – up from 39% in 2019 – but the number disagreeing increased too, from 27% in 2019 to 30%.

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Osun LP Guber Candidate, Lasun Rejoins PDP

Yusuf Lasun, a former deputy speaker of the house of representatives, has rejoined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The governor of Osun, Ademola Adeleke made the announcement on Wednesday at the PDP presidential rally in Osogbo, the Osun capital.

“The former deputy speaker has joined the PDP family. He used to be in PDP, but today, he has decided to come and join the PDP family,” the governor said.

Lasun, who was present at the rally, hailed supporters after a terse remark.

Lasun had contested the 2022 governorship election in Osun on the platform of the Labour Party (LP).

Adeleke came first in the election; Gboyega Oyetola of the APC placed second; Kehinde Atanda of the Action Democratic Party (ADP) came third; while Lasun came a distant fourth.

He was a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) until February when he resigned from the party after losing the party’s governorship ticket.

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I Can’t Contest For President Again; It Will Diminish Me- Jonathan

Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria’s former president, has said he will never contest for the Presidency of the country again.

The Ex-president said it would amount to diminishing himself if he should decide to begin to lobby people and campaign for election again.

Jonathan said this in an interview published in a book, ‘My Time As Chaplain In Aso Rock,” presented to the public on Tuesday.

The book written by Nathaniel Bivan contains the accounts of the Chaplain of the Aso Rock Villa Chapel during the Jonathan administration, Obioma Onwuzurumba.

“If you wake up tomorrow and see that I am President again, that means there may have been circumstances beyond my control. But not to go and pick one form and go and start lobbying people and running for campaigns; I can’t do that again. If I do that, I will diminish myself,” the former President said.

Jonathan said he enjoyed the drama that characterised the rumour earlier in the year that he had purchased a nomination form of the All Progressives Congress to enable him to contest for the party’s presidential ticket.

Ahead of the June 2022 APC presidential primary, a group, Nomadic Pastoralists and Almajirai Community, led by Ibrahim Abdullahi, purchased the N100m nomination and expression of interest forms in Jonathan’s name.

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NMDPRA Assures Nigerians Of Steady Fuel Supply

The Nigeria Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) says the queues at filling stations will soon disappear as marketers commence massive loading of petroleum products.

Mr Ahmed Farouk, Chief Executive of NMDPRA, gave the assurance during a stock monitoring exercise within depots in Lagos on Wednesday.

The NMDPRA boss led staff of the Authority to NIPCO, Total, Aiteo, OVH, Conoil, 11 Plc and HOGL depots in Apapa for on the spot assessment.

Farouk said the stock taking exercise was to ensure availability and effective distribution of petroleum products across the nation to reduce queues at filling stations.

“The essence of this exercise is to ensure that the entire states are wet with petroleum products to avoid scarcity and panic buying by commuters during this period.

“As an Authority, we are doing everything within our powers to make sure that there are enough petroleum products in the system to help alleviate the sufferings of commuters.

“With the issue of scarcity across the nation, l found it necessary that NMDPRA come and ensure that there is even distribution of petroleum products across the nation, especially petrol.

“I am comfortable with the the load-out of petrol across the depots.

“The current distribution of petrol across the nation will address the issue of tightness in the market,” he said.

The NMDPRA boss said all depots in Apapa had products and were loading massively to Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and other states.

He said three vessels were also discharging petrol at Apapa jetty to MOMAN, DAPPMAN and other depots.

Farouk urged Nigerians not to panic and avoid panic buying, while assuring of availability of sufficient products at filling stations across the country.

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