A poll of voters in the UK, Germany, France and Poland finds the UK's position in the EU in a precarious state. It's well understood that there's widespread hostility to EU membership in the UK, with the xenophobic (and racist, and sexist, and unbelievably cruel) UK Independence Party gaining ground and the UK Tories fighting back by espousing eugenics and swearing to renegotiate the UK's position in Europe.
But what's news is the sentiment in Europe, where voters are indifferent-to-hostile to the UK, and seemingly prepared for the country to make an exit from the European Parliament. Only 9% of Germans and 15% of French voters polled think that the UK is a force for good in the EU (Poles were more bullish, but still decidedly lacklustre, at 33%).
It also reveals that more UK voters feel an affinity with the US than with their European neighbours, whereas our EU partners tend to choose other EU nations. When asked who they would generally support on occasions when there was a disagreement between the US and EU countries, 37% of UK respondent said they would tend to support America; just 10% would generally side with Europe.
British people are not negative about everything the EU does: 54% think free movement rules are good for tourism against 6% who think the reverse. There is also strong endorsement for free-trade benefits. Nearly half of those polled say the absence of customs controls and tariffs on goods and services is an advantage. Only 10% see free trade as a disadvantage.
Ukip leader Nigel Farage said: "This is a fascinating and comprehensive study into the relative relationships between countries within and about the EU. We, on these islands feel, due to our history as a globally trading nation, much more at home with our cousins in the Anglosphere than we do with our friends on the continent."
Shock four-country poll reveals widening gulf between Britain and EU [Toby Helm/The Observer]
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