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Brexit (the EU Referendum debate)

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suze
1262397.  Sun Nov 19, 2017 9:23 am Reply with quote

Husband reminded me that he has a spreadsheet showing the EU referendum result by local authority, so I pulled it up for the first time for a while.

As noted, the EU considers Cornwall (which for this purpose includes the Isles of Scilly) and West Wales (all of Wales except Cardiff, Flintshire, Monmouthshire, Newport, Powys, Vale of Glamorgan, Wrexham) to be Britain's only "less developed regions".

Cornwall voted Leave, but the Isle of Scilly voted Remain. Of the fifteen districts which make up West Wales, Ceredigion and Gywnedd voted Remain but the other thirteen voted leave.

If anyone is using this post to compile a list of districts in Wales, those are Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Carmarthenshire, Conwy, Denbighshire, Isle of Anglesey, Merthyr Tydfil, Neath Port Talbot, Pembrokeshire, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Swansea, Torfaen. I know that some of these are suspiciously easterly, but I didn't construct the definition!

The EU's next poorest category doesn't seem to have an official name, but it is shown in pale green on the maps. It comprises East Wales (defined above), all of Northern Ireland, Scottish Highlands (Eileanan Siar, Highland, Orkney, Shetland), and Tees Valley (Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland, Stockton on Tees).

Within East Wales, Cardiff, Monmouthshire, and Vale of Glamorgan voted Remain, while the other four voted Leave. Northern Ireland voted Remain and so did every district in Scottish Highlands (every district in Scotland, indeed). All five local authorities in Tees Valley voted Leave.

Make sense of that if you will; I can't. But one thing I did notice: in the parts of England and Wales mentioned above, Remain voting seems to be correlated with Conservative voting. Both things are minority tastes in Wales and the Tees Valley, but the places which show a tendency to do it are mostly the same ones. Within the Tees Valley, Darlington is perceived as posh and the Conservatives do at least consider it worth campaigning; it is also the only one of the five boroughs where Remain reached 40%.

 
Alexander Howard
1262451.  Sun Nov 19, 2017 6:48 pm Reply with quote

I have red op-ed pieces looking at broad-brush reasons for voting 'Leave' in those areas. It would be instructive to see studies of reasons for voting 'Remain'.

During the campaign, I thought the main reason would be concern about the economic consequences of disrupted trading arrangements, but far more has come to the surface. For some, was it to some extent not wanting to be associated with Nigel Farage and a perception of his supporters?

The Leave side played heavily on patriotism and resisting a European superstate. So was a significant part of the Remain vote from a wish precisely to create a superstate so that past British tradition and national pride could be extirpated in the name of progress? The breaking of this project might explain some of the more extreme, hate-filled expressions from some disappointed Remainers. (I emphasise some; most on both sides are moderate and content to have honest disagreements.)

It is unlikely that we will get an comprehensive and neutral academic study of all these ideas, so we will have to rely on shouting over the barricades and seeing what we can make of the slogans.

 
suze
1262453.  Sun Nov 19, 2017 7:21 pm Reply with quote

I certainly don't want to be associated with Nigel Farage and his supporters, and I plead guilty to having told Leave voters that they are whether they like it or not.

I'm still confused though. If the good people of Cornwall were silly enough actually to believe those promises of government funding to compensate for the loss of EU funding then more fool them. The people of the Isles of Scilly clearly didn't believe them.

But cet par you might imagine that Conservative voters would be more likely to believe what they hear from a Conservative government, and Labour voters less likely to. So why was it the Conservative voters in Wales who voted Remain, clearly not believing Conservative promises of new money? Meanwhile, the very strongly Labour voting areas of the Welsh Valleys and the Tees Valley voted Leave, either believing those Tory promises or not caring whether their region gets any money or not. Something doesn't make sense here.

Tunbridge Wells (frightfully posh, frightfully Tory) voted Remain, while Sevenoaks (the same two frightfullies, and practically everyone works in the City) voted Leave. We were told that the City was strongly in favour of Remain, yet the people who work there seem not to be. TW was the only district in Kent to vote Remain, and no district in Essex did.

The poorer parts of London voted very strongly Remain - while the poorer parts of the rest of England and Wales voted very strongly Leave. Is that because the poorer parts of London are heavily non-white and perceived the Leave contingent as racist? And if that is the reason, can we realistically dispute the claim? (We who are white do not get to say what people who are not white will consider racist. If non-white people consider something racist, then it is.)

So I tentatively conclude that Leave voters either i) are racist, ii) believed things that were not true (and the word for people who do that is "stupid"), or iii) voted against their own best interests (for which the word is "silly").

An individual Leave voter will of course come up with reasons why he is none of those things. But I have yet to hear any such reason which doesn't fall over when we consider that extremely prosperous towns such as Cambridge, St Albans, and Tunbridge Wells voted strongly Remain.

 
crissdee
1262483.  Mon Nov 20, 2017 5:11 am Reply with quote

suze wrote:
. So why was it the Conservative voters in Wales who voted Remain, clearly not believing Conservative promises of new money?


Interestingly, my donor (who lives in Wales) is as rabidly anti-Conservative as you can get, but still voted Remain, and urged me to do the same. However, the fact that her partner is a German ex-pat may have had some effect on her opinion.

 
dr.bob
1262514.  Mon Nov 20, 2017 9:32 am Reply with quote

suze wrote:
I'm still confused though. If the good people of Cornwall were silly enough actually to believe those promises of government funding to compensate for the loss of EU funding then more fool them. The people of the Isles of Scilly clearly didn't believe them.


There may be something else at work there.

I can't speak for Cornwall, but a colleague of mine lives in Devon, which is surely close enough. He reports that his community is pretty equally divided between Leavers and Remainers. However, chief among the Leave voters are the not insignificant number of fishermen that live in the area.

It is their belief that leaving the EU will massively improve their lives on the basis that they will no longer be forced to share their fishing grounds with other EU fishing fleets, thereby hugely improving their catches.

To be honest, I can't see a lot wrong with this logic. I still think that leaving the EU would damage our economy, certainly in the short term. However, those working in the fishing industry may well see their lots improve, possibly enough to outweigh the drop in income that the rest of us will experience.

 
GuyBarry
1262515.  Mon Nov 20, 2017 9:45 am Reply with quote

dr.bob wrote:

I can't speak for Cornwall, but a colleague of mine lives in Devon, which is surely close enough.


Geographically, yes. Psychologically, the Tamar is probably as strong a boundary as the one between England and Scotland. Many Cornish people don't consider themselves English and would resent being lumped in with Devon. Imagine saying "I can't speak for Carlisle, but a colleague of mine lives in Dumfries, which is surely close enough".

 
suze
1262543.  Mon Nov 20, 2017 12:42 pm Reply with quote

dr.bob wrote:
It is their belief that leaving the EU will massively improve their lives on the basis that they will no longer be forced to share their fishing grounds with other EU fishing fleets, thereby hugely improving their catches.


I expect they will be disappointed, then. Michael Gove has stated that Britain will "take back control" of its territorial waters, and will increase the zone from which foreign fishing vessels are excluded from six nautical miles to two hundred (or half the distance where the distance to another country is less than four hundred miles).

So far so good. But it is reasonable to assume that if Britain does increase its fishing limits in that way, then France, Ireland, and Norway will increase theirs in the same way against British fishing vessels. And which do you suppose there is more of - foreign fishing in "our" enlarged zone, or British fishing in those other countries' enlarged zones? Yes, it's the latter* ... (Financial Times, 3 Jul 2017)

There is a particular issue with cod. There is more cod in Norwegian waters than Norwegian fisherman can catch, or could sell even if they did catch it. So there's a deal whereby British fishermen can catch "Norwegian cod", in exchange for Norwegian fishermen catching "British" fish for which there is no market in Britain. Since Norway is not in the EU, we are entirely at liberty to seek to make a new agreement with Norway on that matter - but the current signals from Oslo are that they are not interested. Word from Reykjavík is that we need not hold our breath for Iceland to do us any favours either.


* If we take it that the Biscay fleet is not "foreign". For historical reasons, most of the Spanish fishing fleet operating out of the Bay of Biscay sails under the British flag. Assuming that it continues to do so, it will still have access to British waters.

 
Prof Wind Up Merchant
1262582.  Mon Nov 20, 2017 3:41 pm Reply with quote

Germany is in a spot of bother politically and could have new elections. Merkel could not get a coalition. Could affect the Brexit negotiations.

 
GuyBarry
1262583.  Mon Nov 20, 2017 3:43 pm Reply with quote

Suddenly making Britain look like a model of stability :-)

 
Stefan Linnemann
1262624.  Mon Nov 20, 2017 8:40 pm Reply with quote

Sure, with a minority-only government type you can look that way, every time.

 
GuyBarry
1262690.  Tue Nov 21, 2017 6:20 am Reply with quote

There's no tradition of minority governments in Germany as I understand it. The "grand coalition" is generally the preferred option when no coalition with the smaller parties is possible, but the SPD have said that they don't want to join another one.

I can see why a minority government would be undesirable as it might give undue influence to the AfD. It looks as though another election may be on the cards - although there's no guarantee that that will resolve matters.

 
Alexander Howard
1262712.  Tue Nov 21, 2017 6:59 am Reply with quote

Surely an early general election will provide her with a reaffirmed mandate to ensure strong and stable government?

 
Jenny
1262788.  Tue Nov 21, 2017 11:20 am Reply with quote

^ I detect a note of irony...

 
Stefan Linnemann
1262913.  Tue Nov 21, 2017 11:03 pm Reply with quote

GuyBarry wrote:
There's no tradition of minority governments in Germany as I understand it. The "grand coalition" is generally the preferred option when no coalition with the smaller parties is possible, but the SPD have said that they don't want to join another one.

I can see why a minority government would be undesirable as it might give undue influence to the AfD. It looks as though another election may be on the cards - although there's no guarantee that that will resolve matters.

Your first sentence should have been a hint I was not talking about Germany. No matter, I was just being grumpy and indulging in a pet peeve:

In most elections in most countries, there's is about one third of the electorate that'll vote conservative/moderate-right, one third progressive/moderate-left, and one third neither of those. The latter group is splintered in all sort of small fractions, and never achieve any representation in a district system. In such a system, the first two thirds alternate, solo, in "majority" governments, which I just explained as being minorities in overall electorate terms. In a proportional representation that disadvantage is exchange for a necessity of coalition governments. I consider that a bonus.

 
GuyBarry
1262973.  Wed Nov 22, 2017 6:10 am Reply with quote

Stefan Linnemann wrote:

Your first sentence should have been a hint I was not talking about Germany.


Sorry, I must have misread your post.

Quote:
No matter, I was just being grumpy and indulging in a pet peeve:

In most elections in most countries, there's is about one third of the electorate that'll vote conservative/moderate-right, one third progressive/moderate-left, and one third neither of those. The latter group is splintered in all sort of small fractions, and never achieve any representation in a district system. In such a system, the first two thirds alternate, solo, in "majority" governments, which I just explained as being minorities in overall electorate terms.


What do you mean by a "district" system? The first-past-the-post constituency system that we have in the UK has tended historically to give overall majorities to one of the two main parties, but more recently that hasn't been the case; two of the last three elections have given no party an overall majority. (In the case of this year's election, it happened even though the two main parties got 82% of the vote between them.)

Quote:
In a proportional representation that disadvantage is exchange for a necessity of coalition governments. I consider that a bonus.


If the parties are unable to put together a coalition, as is currently happening in Germany, in what sense is it a bonus?

 

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