There’s no love for the EU or immigration, but voters must ask ‘what are the alternatives?’

Free movotersvement is part and parcel of continued access to European markets. Stephen Booth, co-director of Open Europe asks if it is worth sacrificing the latter to reduce the former? This piece is part of the UCL European Institute’s second guest editor week on openDemocracy.

Given the recent political history of immigration in Britain, is it surprising that the issue now tops the political agenda and that public trust in politicians on this issue is so low? Throughout the 2000s, with looser policies on non-EU migration and EU enlargement to eastern Europe taking effect, net immigration to the UK increased from the tens of thousands to well over 200,000 a year. According to Ipsos-Mori’s issues tracker, just 10% of the British electorate considered immigration to be the most important issue facing the country in the late 1990s. By the mid-2000s, the share of people saying it was the most important issue steadily increased to 40%, and by May 2015 it reached 50%.

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EU freedom of movement and Brexit

fkwiatkowski/Flickr. (CC 2.0 by-nc-nd)Sofia Vasilopoulou, lecturer in Politics at the University of York, says EU migration could be the make or break issue of the Brexit campaigns. Both sides understand this, but how will they approach the topic? This piece is part of the UCL European Institute’s first guest editor week on openDemocracy.

Britain goes to the polls on 23 June to decide whether the country will remain in the European Union (EU) or exit it. Sixty-eight polls between 3 September 2015 and 3 March 2016 have shown that there is no clear winning camp. Public opinion has been constantly fluctuating, and the number of those responding with ‘I don’t know’ has been as high as 24%. In the context of such high levels of uncertainty among the British public about their vote choice, campaign frames will be very powerful tools for influencing vote choice. Continue reading