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What Britons Want

What Britons Want

Later today, the House of Commons is expected to hold yet another Brexit vote, this time on all or part of Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit plan. We'll spare you the details for now, because today we're looking at a more basic question: what do the British people actually want?


In the coming weeks and months, politicians on all sides of this political dilemma will continue to invoke public opinion in support of their positions. But what do the people of the UK really think?

Not surprisingly, they're unhappy with their elected leaders. A new YouGov poll finds that only 26 percent of the British public has a positive view of Prime Minister Theresa May, and just 18 percent have a favorable opinion of Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. These are the lowest scores either party leader has ever registered.

What about Brexit itself? A moving average of the six most recent polls to gauge public attitudes toward Brexit finds that, once people with "no opinion" are excluded, 54 percent would rather see the UK remain in the European Union, while 46 percent prefer leaving..

In part, that's because 86 percent of those who voted "remain" in the 2016 referendum would still vote the same way, while just 82 percent of those who voted for Brexit say they'd do so again.

More importantly, among those who did not vote in 2016, more than twice as many say they would vote to keep the UK in the EU if another vote were held today.

Will that matter in what happens next? Not unless there's a second referendum, which still seems unlikely. And even if there is a second referendum, a second campaign might change minds yet again.

But amid another wave of speeches about the will of the people, this is yet another reminder that what politicians say the people want and what those people actually want are often two different things.

Pop quiz: what percentage of plastic currently gets recycled worldwide? Watch this video in Eni's Energy Shot series to find out and learn what needs to be done to prevent plastic from ending up in our oceans. Plastic is a precious resource that should be valued, not wasted.

Ten years ago this week, a powerful earthquake off the coast of eastern Japan triggered a tsunami that destroyed the Fukushima nuclear plant, resulting in the world's worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986. A decade and dozens of decommissioned reactors later, nuclear energy still supplies about 10 percent of global electricity, but its future remains uncertain amid post-Fukushima safety concerns.

As more countries pledge to curb emissions to mitigate climate change, nuclear could serve as a clean(ish) and reliable source of energy. But investing more in nuclear comes with tradeoffs.

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This Monday, March 8, is International Women's Day, a holiday with roots in a protest led by the Russian feminist Alexandra Kollontai that helped topple the czar of Russia in 1917. More than a hundred years later, amid a global pandemic that has affected women with particular fury, there are dozens of women-led protests and social movements reshaping politics around the globe. Here we take a look at a few key ones to watch this year.

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Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hey everybody. Ian Bremmer here. Welcome to your week, life looking better every day in the United States, coronavirus land. But I thought I'd talk about, this week, all of this cancel culture that everyone's talking about right now. If you're on the wrong political side, your opponents are trying to shut you down and you take massive umbrage. I see this everywhere, and it's starting to annoy.

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"Apocalyptic" protests in Senegal: At least five people have been killed in clashes with police as protests over poverty, unemployment, and the jailing of a popular politician rock the West African nation of Senegal. Ousmane Sonko, who heads the opposition Movement to Defend Democracy (M2D) and is considered the most viable challenger to current president Mackie Sall, was accused of rape in February and arrested last week. Sonko says the charges are a politically motivated attempt to remove him from politics before the 2024 presidential election. His supporters immediately hit the streets, voicing a range of grievances including joblessness and poverty. Though youth unemployment has fallen over the past decade, it still exceeds eight percent and close to two-thirds of the country's 16 million people are under the age of 25. As Sonko supporters pledge to continue protests this week, Senegal's head of conflict resolution says the country is "on the verge of apocalypse."

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The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

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