Saturday 11 June 2016

Personal stuff

Where I was

On the subject of the EU referendum...

Despite being on holiday with my family in Devon (and, briefly, in Sue's Cornwall) I couldn't avoid the subject. My family wanted to talk about it. Lots of other people wanted to talk about it too - and, contrary to what some might expect (ahem, some at the BBC), none of them seemed bored to death with the subject - even the one member of my family who's only voted about once in forty years and who won't be voting in this one either, despite being obviously and quite angrily pro-Leave. (Is such interest unusual?)

And, though it's not remotely approaching a poll-worthy sample, I was out-and-out surprised at how pro-Leave they all were...and that's not in any way down to me as (away from the blogosphere) I'm not one for talking politics and didn't even try to persuade any of them. (In fact, curiously, I kept finding myself half-heartedly playing devil's advocate with them given how strongly pro-Leave they were. I've obviously spent too long listening to the BBC).

Some were definitely pro-Leave. Some - as definite as can be - have already sent in their postal votes for Out. And others may say they are still undecided but they had nothing but praise for Andrea, Gisela and Boris and nothing but contempt for Angela, Amber and Nicola on Thursday night. (And me too. Gisela Stuart in particular struck me as an absolute class act)...

...and the ones who have already sent off their postal votes for Leave are young (i.e. the ones meant to be for Remain), and I would have placed a near-certain bet on their voting for Remain. Yes, they felt conflicted about it, but they placed their cross on the postal vote, and off they've gone. 

As much of my extended family falls into the previously-Labour-voting-now-often-UKIP-voting working class (and, I reckon, the others I listened to too), I've been pleased to see - in the few glimpses I've had of it over the last week or so - a fair few BBC reports that haven't denied this intriguing trend. I saw a John Pienaar report on BBC One's News at Six that featured a lot of such people as vox pops, every one of whom was pro-Leave. And Newsnight has been reporting the seemingly ever-widening disconnect between the Labour Party and Labour voters over the issue too. And quite right too.

Before I went on holiday, I tried to work out how my work colleagues would vote by just listening to them. (Laurie Taylor's Thinking Allowed would call the majority of them 'working class'). Two of my friends had completely bought George Osborne's 'Your household will lose £4,300 a year if we leave' scare. They said they couldn't afford to lose that. They intend to vote Remain. (I pointed out it didn't mean what they think it means. Have I changed their minds?). The small-in-number-but-loud-in-voice left-wing post-students at work were initially dismissive of the whole thing but they hate Nigel Farage and the Tories and will vote Remain, duh. Plenty of others, however, are firmly, enthusiastically pro-Leave and seem very firm on the issue. One of them really doesn't like the French. I'd say they are very split but, by my reckoning, tending towards Leave. 

I don't know where this is going. The polls are apparently veering the way my 'polls' are veering. Polls are often wrong. Mine could be wrong. We'll soon know. 


  1. Well the way the campaign has gone has just confirmed what a crappy Remainiac lie that BBC meme was about this being such a boring subject. On Sky News tonight they are finally admitting that people are unprecedently engaged in this. In my own extended family there have already been a couple of "heated debates" - it's passionate and you can see how civil wars start and just how damaging such conflicts can be.

    Cameron had no idea what he was starting. He thought it was going to be a slam dunk...he didn't realise he was going to spark a peasants' revolt.

  2. I kept finding myself half-heartedly playing devil's advocate with them given how strongly pro-Leave they were. I've obviously spent too long listening to the BBC

    Only if you kept interrupting them and inaccurately rephrasing their answers....

    Your experiences seem to match up with both the Question Time audience trend and the social media count thing Guido Fawkes is posting.

    As for the Boris vs. the Remainiac harridans, it certainly seems like Remain completely wasted an opportunity by spending so much time and energy on the ad hominem. Does anyone seriously see Boris Johnson himself as the essence of the reasons to Leave? Haven't they (Remain, the BBC, and the Spectator until recently) been telling us for months that it's so horrible that Leave have made the campaign so personal, and the public really want just the facts, ma'am? Or was that just another false narrative the Government and the BBC) have been pushing to manipulate public perception?

  3. Just driven South on way to Portsmouth & seen a heartening number of Leave posters in fields & gardens, but not one for Remain. I'd like to think people are showing how they feel about Dodgy Dave and the organizational he's done a deal with. I'm voting Leave because I believe it's right, but it's definitely a bonus to be taking a swipe at the BBC which has been trying to brainwash us for months!

  4. I agree that the notion that voters are “bored” is somewhat patronising. But I believe that many people do find themselves the position of being sick to death of the EU and would support Brexit, but are afraid of the unknown consequences of leaving. Unfortunately, the debate so far hasn’t really helped inform or increase understanding at all. The less said about the BBC’s “Reality Check” the better. So it might be legitimately said that the voters are not bored per say, but are being bored by the nature of the debate. How useful a genuine realty check would have been.

    Given that so much of the arguments on both sides are little more than speculation, for me it is ultimately a moral/political issue: Do I believe that our country should be ruled by our own elected government or am I happy to see democracy slowly eroded in favour of what might be illusory economic benefits.


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