Several areas in London are odds on to be the place that votes to Remain in the EU in the largest numbers. Clacton-on-Sea is odds on to be the place which votes most heavily for Leave. Two things are interesting about this. One, the places in London voting for Remain are the areas most directly affected by EU immigration, i.e. that’s where the EU immigrants live. Meanwhile, Clacton is 95% both white and British born. They blame their woes on immigrants – despite the fact that there are none where they live, and if immigration fell to 0%, it would affect them and their lives 0%.
The second thing that is interesting about the London-Clacton divide is that if we vote to leave the EU, one way or another London will be fine. Either we go for the full course WTO deal, or despite what everyone’s been saying about a Norway deal being off the table that’s what we do in the end anyway, it doesn’t really matter to the capital in the long term. London is London and it will find a way of pulling through, even if the shock is really bad to the system post-Brexit.
It is places like Clacton that will really feel it. If there is a recession, those are the people who won’t be able to suck it up and say it’s temporary; they are barely making it now. If further funds are taken out of benefits, and there’s not even any EU money around for regeneration projects anymore, places like Clacton have nowhere to turn when it turns out a post-Brexit world has simply made regional inequalities even starker.
In some places around the country, at least C2s will possibly see some upside as Eastern European competition is reduced. For Ds and Es, it’s all bad news if Brexit happens. The fact that those who bothered to vote from these socio-economic groups will probably have voted for Brexit in large numbers will be cruelly ironic.
The most damaging thing to wider society will be the poorer parts of England watching as liberal London, which voted against Brexit, gets richer still, while the rest of the country, who believed all that rubbish about reduced immigration and saving the NHS, watches their standards of living drop further and further. The sense of alienation may become unbearable – at least pre-Brexit, a large group of people had the Brexit fantasy to keep them going. If only we left the EU, everything would be roses. If Brexit happens and things not only don’t get better, but rather they get worse, what happens then in places like Clacton? I genuinely can’t begin to predict. The idea that anti-politics sentiment could possibly get worse in Britain is unimaginable – but very much still possible.
Lisa Gooch-Knowles says
Based on Clacton scenario, 95% white, voting Brexit,, that basically means that only the large city’s such as London , Birmingham, Manchester and Bradford ect will vote remain, as the rest of U.K is predominantly white, and empty. This means that most white people are inherently racist, which I don’t except.
I see it differently.
In areas such as London Birmingham, Bradford ect, you are more likely to see a Brexit vote because white people believe and see that they are swamped by immigration, even though they are still the majority. These people buy in to the ukip ethos of Breaking point, as it’s what they see every day.
Let’s just hope that you are wrong about Clacton, and that the British people, of all colour and race, vote on the economic good for our country and not make it a referendum on immigration
Speaking as a resident of Clacton, one thing I am actually very pleased to report is the noticeable rise in people from Europe (judging by accents) and people of colour in the town over the last 2 years or so. I will be a remain voter as I see the arguments presented by both sides as purely the Economy on the remain side and Immigration on the leave side and I believe that the economy is by far the most important of the two.
What your article seems to have missed is the fact that the white, British, population of Clacton is predominantly retired people from East London and many cite their reasons for coming here as being a place to retire to escape East London which they see as being overrun by immigrants.
Brexit has very obviously and successfully tapped in to a sense of patriotism and the notion that wanting to be part of the EU and allowing free movement to Britain is somehow unpatriotic. The generation that fuels UKIP is very patriotic. They have been convinced that we are being invaded and from their own experiences, they did not take a lot of convincing since the information that is drip fed daily by the right wing media simply reinforces what they already believed before the referendum campaigns started.
The Brexit campaign has pretty much come out and said … “You know all that stuff that Farage has been saying for the last 10 years ? Well, he is right and we now have Conservative ministers and officials saying the same thing.”
It’s the economy V immigration now and what is more important to individuals is the way they will vote.
I live both near Clacton and in Peterborough. I have been campaigning for the Remain team in Peterborough. It’s the White over 60’s that have given me the most grief / laughs. One guy shouted ‘gallons’ and went onto explain that he didn’t like litres, gallons sounds better. I did try and say that I was brought on with litres and gallons and maybe this is an age thing! He said ‘maybe you are right but I’m out’. One white old woman just said ‘Turkey’, ‘Muslims’ ‘I’m out’. One old man, white again, shouted at me ‘anyone the age of 60 hasn’t got a clue. I’m out’.
I do think there is racism at play with the over 60 white population. I also think that the degree of education plays a part. Sun readers are likely to vote out and Times and Guardian readers Remain. The working class are more likely to vote out, degree educated ‘Remainers’ A and B, are more likely to remain in.
So the Brexit campaign of tabloid politics and appealing to the less educated and working class with emotional xenophobic propaganda has been affective. I agree this blog it’s the less educated and working class that will be the most affected. Wealthy Farage, Jonnson will be wealthy whatever the outcome.
George Lee says
Every weekend I go out to Essex where at least in rural areas where I go there is a strong “Leave” presence in the form of large and quite aggressive roadside posters.
It will be interesting to see if this is apparent strong sentiment is reflected in the polling stations. I suspect there is a significant but quiet remain vote waiting for the solitude of the voting booth to make itself heard.