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I have argued already that those who have less, comparing themselves with so many who have more, said ‘enough, whatever else happens, we want no more of this.’

I quote with some edits from the Spectator:

‘The statistics are extraordinary. The well-to-do voted Remain, the poor demanded to Leave. The Leave/Remain divide splits almost perfectly along class lines. Of local authorities that have a high number of manufacturing jobs, a whopping 86 per cent voted Leave. Of those bits of Britain with low manufacturing, only 42 per cent did so. Of local authorities with average house prices of less than £282,000, 79 per cent voted Leave; where house prices are above that figure, just 28 per cent did so. Of the 240 local authorities that have low education levels — i.e. more than a quarter of adults do not have five A to Cs at GCSE — 83 per cent voted Leave.

Then there’s pay: 77 per cent of local authorities in which lots of people earn a low wage (of less than £23,000) voted Leave, compared with only 35 per cent of areas with decent pay packets.

It’s this stark: if you do physical labour, live in a modest home and have never been to university, you’re far more likely to have said ‘screw you’ to the EU than the bloke in the leafier neighbouring borough who has a nicer existence. Of course there are discrepancies. The 16 local authorities in Scotland that have high manufacturing levels voted Remain rather than Leave. But for the most part, class was the deciding factor in the vote. This, for me, is the most breathtaking fact: of the 50 areas of Britain that have the highest number of people in social classes D and E — semi-skilled and unskilled workers and unemployed people — only three voted Remain. Three. That means 47 very poor areas, in unison, said no to the thing the establishment insisted they should say yes to.

Britain’s poor and workless have risen up. And in doing so they didn’t just give the EU and its British backers the bloodiest of bloody noses. They also brought crashing down the Blairite myth of a post-class, Third Way, where the old ideological divide between rich and poor did not exist, since we were all supposed to be ‘stakeholders’ in society. Post-referendum, we know society is still cut in two, not only by economics but by politics too. This isn’t just about the haves and have-nots: it’s a war of views.

Surveys dent the claim that the anti-EU throng was driven by disdain for foreigners. In a post-vote ComRes poll, only 34 per cent of Leave voters cited concern about immigration as their main reason for voting out (and concern about immigration isn’t necessarily racism). A majority, 53 per cent, said they rejected the EU because they think Britain should make its own laws. So this swath of the country, defamed as a brainless pogrom-in-waiting, was actually voting for democracy.’

Here is Brendan O’Neill, direct from this same piece:

But my take, from talking to Leave voters, is not that they feel slighted by the political class but that they oppose it. Their concern isn’t that the elite is ignoring them but rather that it is interfering too much. They are sick of being castigated for their way of life. People have a strong sense of being ruled over by institutions that fundamentally loathe them, or at least consider them to be in dire need of moral and social correction.

In Burnt Oak, the tiny working-class suburb in north-west London where I grew up, it wasn’t hard to find Leave voters, even though the borough, Barnet, voted Remain by 100,000 to 61,000 votes. All said a similar thing: ‘They look down on us.’ Everyone I spoke to said they’d had a gutful of being branded racist simply because they feel British. To prove that foreigner-bashing isn’t their thing, many of them point out that they work and socialise with Romanians (of whom there are huge numbers in Burnt Oak).

They feel patronised, slandered and distrusted, not ignored. They feel their working-class culture and attitudes are viewed with contempt. These are the kind of people looked upon by officialdom as unhealthy and un-PC, too rowdy at the football, too keen to procreate, too fond of booze, too sweary: too attached to the idea of England.

This rebellion wasn’t caused by racism or a paroxysm of infantile anger. It was considered. The workers spied an opportunity to take the elite that despises them down a peg or two — and they seized it. They asserted their power, and in the process, blimey: they changed the world.”

 

 

3 COMMENTS

  1. From a research participant POV it’s worth pointing out that a lot of the people referred to in the article would type out as C1s by the book. White collar ‘factories’ like call centres etc, huge minimum wage employers in what were traditionally manufacturing industries. So, different kinds of segmentation are definitely needed

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