The Spectator

Barometer | 4 April 2019

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German customs

The original customs union, or Zollverein, was established by Prussia along with 17 other states which make up modern Germany in 1834. Prior to that, traders crossing what is now Germany, were obliged to make multiple declarations and pay taxes as they moved across state borders.

— It had taken 15 years to establish, but achieved a big step towards realisation in 1828 when Prussia formed a union with neighbouring state Hesse-Darmstadt, Bavaria formed its own union with Wurttemberg, and Saxony with Thuringian.

— Not everyone was convinced. Hamburg and Bremen, which conducted much external trade by sea and made a lot of money from import duties, were not persuaded to join until 1888, by which time they had already been part of the German Empire for 17 years. Even then, the actual port of Hamburg remained outside the customs union.

Splits and pieces

How is the country split?



Votes in referendum

17.4m / 16.1m


406 / 242

Labour constituency

148 / 84

Conservative constituency

247 / 80


9 / 3


160 / 486

Electorate races

Channel 4 apologised after news presenter Jon Snow said of a pro-Brexit rally that he had ‘never seen so many white people in one place’. Is there really an ethnic dividing line on Brexit? Ipsos-Mori produced an estimate for how people voted in the 2016 referendum:


54% leave, 46% remain


31% leave, 69% remain

In 2015, ahead of the referendum, the British Election Study broke down voting intentions as follows:


35% leave, 46% remain


17% leave, 61% remain

South Asian

22% leave, 49% remain

Major profits

Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia’s state oil company, reported profits of $111 billion, more than any other company in the world. How does it compare with the world’s next most profitable public companies?



Industrial and Commercial

Bank of China




Berkshire Hathaway


China Construction Bank




Source: Forbes