Tag Archives: leave voters

The path to victory lies through Brexit Britain. As Remainers, we need to show them we’re on their side

This week in Parliament we might just have scored the first victory in our long march to a People’s Vote. Now, if a referendum is truly close at hand, the hard work must now start: we need to convince Brexit Britain that it ought to change its mind.

Sure, Remain’s supposedly got an eight-point lead in the opinion polls. But that was true in 2016… plus ça change?

To win, we must convince Leave voters in places like the East Midlands town of Wellingborough, where I live and had the pleasure to be Lib Dem candidate at the last General Election. In many ways this ought to be natural Remain territory: it’s a diverse town, with both a mosque and an ornate Hindu temple. Local voters elected New Labour in 1997, electing a MP who called for the legislation of cannabis, and we even host an annual Pride event in a town centre park. Yet we voted Leave by 63% and are represented by arch-Brexiteer and Sven-Goran Eriksson lookalike Peter Bone.

How did this happen? When you speak to ordinary voters, the mystery becomes clear. Yes, it is true that some voters talk of immigration, a lost identity or misplaced notions of ‘lost sovereignty’. For most Brexit voters, however, the root causes of Brexit are emphatically human: they feel let down and left behind by politicians in Westminster and (yes) Brussels, and they feel buffeted from the consequences of a fragile global economy. Above all they feel they’ve lost control.

These are people who see ever more fragile employment, with an explosion in zero-hour contracts and ten years of pay restraint, coupled with impossible house prices. They see an education system failing to deliver practical skills, with FE colleges where funding has been cut to the bone and where those without a degree are ever more marginalised. In town centres they seem the places they are proud of become ever more empty, bereft of the brands with which they are familiar. And, as they struggle to take control over their lives, is it any wonder that the pledges and half-truths of the Leave campaign were so attractive?

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 55 Comments

Can the nation somehow unite around the values represented by Money Saving Expert, NSPCC, TK Maxx and M&S?

Our esteemed editor, Caron, returned yesterday from a very well earned holiday and, revitalised by sun-soaked walks on Rosemarkie Beach, underscored the party’s need not to “go wobbly on the EU“. She concluded:

The future prosperity of our country depends on us winning these hearts and minds and we need to get on with it. We need to provide the glue that helps this very divided country to come back together and solve the problems it faces.

According to research based on years of mass polling by YouGov, uniting the country could boil down to somehow responding to the common themes represented by four brands: Money Saving Expert, NSPCC, TK Maxx and M&S.

Based on affinities identified in the polling, Emily James, chief strategy officer at advertising agency Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R says that the brands that are most likely to determine whether someone voted Leave or Remain in the referendum are:

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Engaging with disgruntled Leave voters

Beside the ongoing drama around Westminster, there’s an urgent task to be done among those who voted to leave the EU and are beginning to regret it. This is crucial for the country, and wise for us as well.

I’m thinking of those taken in by false “promises” — there isn’t an extra £350 million a week for the NHS, or an end to free movement of people, Brexit doesn’t mean an end to fishing quotas, and “taking back control” now sounds like a joke. They were already alienated and this is not helping.

We’re hearing stories of Brexit hitting places that voted for it: Lush moving from Poole, Forterra mothballing plants in Accrington and Claughton. Vacancies and job prospects are down. We need a more constructive response than a brutal “You voted for it”.

If Labour were acting as a proper opposition rather than embroiled in in civil war, they would be highlighting further betrayals from the Tories: most startling is the abandoning of plans to move to a budget surplus. If it were to be so quickly abandoned now, why was it clung to for so long despite fuelling misery for millions? How many voted Leave because of that pain?

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 36 Comments

The referendum: What were people voting about?

Two articles give much food for thought about the referendum. The Independent’s “Austerity and class divide likely factors behind Brexit vote” finds that 60% of the country self identfy as working class and have strong views on immigration, benefits and the unemployed. The report also mentions anti-establishment feelings towards bureacracy and government. The social mobility of the second half of the twentieth century, which saw many working class people move into middle class jobs has all but ended so the possibility of social mobility as a route to security is no longer available. The article also notes short terms changes in that in the years immediately following the 2008 crash there was high approval for austerity, but that has now lessened, with views on related issues, such as the proper rate for benefits, being confused. There is also a mixed pattern with regard to stress and freedom at work and also towards the ideas of coalition and voting reform.

The Guardian’s “Meet 10 Britons who voted to leave the EU” outlines a series of views from leave voters about what they were voting for and against.

The views expressed resonate with the idea that people were voting against the EU as representing the interests of the elite and not the interests of ordinary people. This quote sums up that view:

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 30 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarJoseph Bourke 24th Jan - 1:36am
    As the prospect of a Brexit election subsides in the face of projections of another hung parliament and the Labour leadership procrastinate on getting behind...
  • User AvatarChristopher Haigh 24th Jan - 12:03am
    There basically three types of breciteers within the Tory party - one of them divided into two sub groups. There are the Little Englanders (...
  • User AvatarRoland 23rd Jan - 11:33pm
    @Peter Martin - re: Matthew Green His point is interesting, however, if the UK does crash out, don't expect the EU to leave the pre-Brexit...
  • User AvatarSimon Banks 23rd Jan - 11:23pm
    A prominent Liberal Democrat activist who is a lawyer did speak to Simon Hughes about his deep concerns (read anger) about what had been done...
  • User AvatarMartin 23rd Jan - 11:17pm
    Michael: If you watched these things closely, you would know that the 2015 election was rerun only couple of years later, so rerunning a 2016...
  • User AvatarMichael 23rd Jan - 10:47pm
    We already had a "people's vote", and the people voted to leave. You might not like it, but we can't keep rerunning every vote just...