Tuesday 26 February 2019

...and any other matters that take our fancy

Away from matters BBC-related for a moment, here's a Twitter thread today from Dr. Matthew Goodwin relevant to the news today:

  • One critical point about the vote for Brexit is that it marked the first moment when a majority of British people formally asked for something that a majority of their elected representatives did not want to give. It was always destined to lead us here.
  • Contrary to popular claims, we now know from a dozen+ studies that Leavers knew what they were voting for. They had a clear sense about how they wanted to change the settlement; they wanted powers returned from the EU & to slow the pace of immigration.
  • We also know that for large chunks of the Leave electorate this vote - a rejection of the status quo - was anchored in high levels of political distrust, exasperation with an unfair economic settlement & a strong desire to be heard & respected.
  • I do not think that it is hard to imagine what could happen if Brexit is delayed, taken off the shelf altogether or evolves into a second referendum that offers Remain vs May's deal, which Leavers would view as an illegitimate 'democratic' exercise.
  • We have evidence: 
  • (1) Professor Lauren McLaren has already shown that even before the first referendum people who wanted to reform the existing settlement but who felt politicians were unresponsive became significantly more distrustful of the entire political system.
  • (2) Professor Oliver Heath (& others) have found that as British politics gradually converged on the middle-class at the expense of the working-class the latter gradually withdrew from politics, hunkering down and becoming more apathetic.
  • This is partly why the first referendum was so important, where we saw surprisingly high rates of turnout in blue-collar seats. Because for the first time in years many of these voters felt that they could, finally, bring about change.
  • And we'd already seen an alliance between middle-class conservatives and blue-collar workers to try and bring about this change when they decamped from mainstream politics in 2012-2015 to vote for a populist outsider.
  • So I think that we do know what the effects of a long/indefinite delay to Brexit, or taking it off the table altogether, will be. Either we will see a return to apathy & ever-rising levels of distrust which will erode our democracy and the social contract from below, or another populist backlash, anchored in the same alliance of disillusioned Tories & angry workers who - as we've learned - are very unlikely to just walk quietly into the night. If anything, this will just exacerbate the deeper currents we discuss here https://amzn.to/2VfkpCa.


  1. That is the situation in a nutshell. If Brexit is delayed or watered down the there is a very real chance of what will be called a far right, populist backlash.

    1. How thick do they have to be to realise that the normally peaceable majority are neither extremists or 'far-right' and, for anyone that thinks that, perhaps it is their own world view that is wrong, and dare I say it, extreme?

  2. There is definitely room for a radical populist movement which would honour the 2016 vote, restore Free Speech rights (and enshrine them in a new, written constitution), and put a stop to the scandal of continuing mass immigration running at over half a million per annum, with all that implies.

    I don't see how Batten and UKIP can do anything other than call for a boycott of the Rigged Rerun. We need a "not in our name" protest movement to oppose the Rigged Rerun which will have a fiddled franchise and a Remain-Remain choice on the ballot paper.

  3. I’m so angry with the recent turn of events that I can barely watch or read the “news”.

    There is so many that don’t realise that what we’ve got is not free to give away, its built on generations and generations of hard work from both nationals and immigrants with the guts to come here and fit in in with our way of life. They won’t be happy until it’s a crime ridden wasteland, with massive gulfs between rich and poor like so many other places in the world.

    Slavery we stopped the trade accros the world. Poor working conditions? We started sorting that in the 1800’s. Railways? Systems of government that still exist today? Nazis? Russians? That’s us too. I’m fed up of being told to be ashamed to be English and British and that we can’t cope on our own. If it’s so bad why do most of the world want to live here!

    Meh. Rant over.

    1. Brexit over! The 17.4 million majority will not get what they voted for. Democracy over! Trust in Parliament over! Control over borders over!

      I don't know where we go from here. Optimism over!

  4. What May said:
    - "Brexit means Brexit"
    - "No deal is better than a bad deal"
    - "We are leaving on 29/3/19"
    - "We will not extend Article 50"
    - "No deal is a very real option"

    1. And here are some lies she prepared earlier:

      "We will reduce net migration to the tens of thousands."

      "I will not call an election before 2020."

      "We will be leaving the Customs Union."

  5. We are entering a time when being an MP is a dangerous career.


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