Friday, June 24, 2016


52% voted to leave, 48% voted to stay, 72% of eligible voters cast ballots.  So 37% of eligible voters wanted out, 35% wanted to stay, 28% didn't vote at all. Pre-vote polling indicated that Leave supporters were disproportionately older, male, white, working class and rural, while Remain voters were disproportionately younger, female, ethnically mixed, professional class and urban.

Historically, older voters are more likely to vote than younger ones. The polling showed a slight margin for Remain (the UKIP leader actually conceded a Remain victory before the votes were counted). Thus, even a small difference in percentage of voting on either side would affect the outcome. Which is apparently what actually happened. The BBC map showing the distribution of votes supports that analysis, I think. In several urban constituencies that voted Leave, the margin was as narrow or narrower than the national vote. Scotland voted to stay, but there were places where the vote was as narrow as south of the border.

So we have a profoundly disunited Britain that has put itself on the outside looking in.

It’s a given, I think, that the UK will not thrive economically outside the EU. The warnings that trade deals are off and will have to be renegotiated are real. England’s major export has been financial services. Without the ease of access to the EU, that value has hugely diminished. Other countries will be only too happy to supply those services instead. Its industrial base has shrunk, and like that of other developed countries has either been displaced or bought out by foreigners. That’s both good (it’s part of a multinational, global industrial complex) and bad (there will be less incentive to keep operations in Britain).

Politically, Britain will continue to be part of NATO and other international organisations, but its partners will, quite naturally, view it with a combination of disdain and suspicion. Disdain for the failure of the current leadership, and suspicion of the coming nationalist, inward-looking cadre that will attempt to fulfill the empty promise of reconstituted British greatness. But national greatness isn’t like orange juice: you can’t just add emotion and stir.

Socially, Britain is in for violent and bloody times. The Leave vote will encourage the racists and bigots, who will see it as permission to attack immigrants and other groups that they blame for all that they see as having gone wrong since the Second World War.

And will it even be Britain much longer? Scotland voted to remain: the SNP leader has already said she will introduce legislation to enable a Scottish referendum to leave Britain. That will embolden the Welsh separatists, too, and Lord only knows how the Northen Irish will react.



Anonymous said...

Watch Europe break up and the Russians grin with glee. The US is in the same situation when it will vote thisfall. kepp our heads low...

Anonymous said...

Sad... sad.... we will have to try to make do...