Immigration and that referendum December 16, 2016Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
Interesting, and depressing, to read this. I can’t help but feel that five years of Tory rule did nothing to make people feel, let alone actually be, in a better position in relation to their circumstance, but the Rowntree Foundation survey does point to immigration driving the vote for Brexit in the UK particularly for those on lower incomes.
The vote for Brexit was fuelled by poorer voters feeling they had very little control over immigration, coupled with a more general mistrust of politicians and officials, according to new research into attitudes before the referendum.
When people were asked how in control they felt over political issues such as crime, housing and health, the proportion who said “I can make no difference” ranged from 10% to 28%.
However, with immigration this shot up to 72% saying they had no control, with an even higher 76% of those on lower incomes saying this. Only 6% of people felt they had any real control over immigration.
This feeling came to the fore during the EU referendum, Kelley argued: “You’re presented with a binary choice that is framed as a choice between less and more immigration – at that point that feeling of total inability to control becomes relevant.”
And here’s some more particularly troubling aspects:
Other factors tied closely to voting leave included people’s belief they had lost out economically compared with others – 76% of those who believed this supported Brexit – and thinking Britain had changed significantly for the worse, 73% of whom opted for leave.
And one can see in the following how a toxic media discourse impacted on perceptions – particularly of those in more problematic economic circumstances.
The new research also included in-depth, qualitative studies of the views of low-income voters in one outer London borough.
Here, the study said, people “talked about migrants, refugees and asylum seekers interchangeably”, and felt that immigration created pressure on public services, in which they and their family were likely to lose out.
Of course the contradictions abound. Who are the personal in many public services? Who picks food crops, etc, etc. And what means are there of combatting misperceptions? Got to say the quoted remarks at the release of the report aren’t exactly heartening with a sort of musing like the following:
Matthew Goodwin, a professor of politics at Kent University and an expert on populist parties, said this new narrative left the Labour party at risk of “getting hammered” if it continued to advocate free movement of people post-Brexit.
Politicians on the centre-left were still discussing immigration in “a very transactional, rational language”, Goodwin said.
“Everything we know from 20 years of research on social science suggests that issues of culture and identity are just as important, if not more important, than questions of economic scarcity and perceived economic threat.
“Unless mainstream politicians, society, elites – whatever you want to call them – start to look beyond questions of economic distribution, the populist right will always be able to outflank those parties,” he told the event.
I’ve got to be honest. I’m not entirely convinced. It seems to me, and this is actually although linked to the Brexit result something that is separate in itself – that part of the problem is that toxic media and political narrative. That a populist politics that has hinged on immigration – using it very deliberately through the media initially to speed the way to Brexit, is more to blame. And perhaps, just perhaps, when the actual impacts of Brexit become clear demonstrating that immigration and other supposed woes aren’t the problem (including membership of the EU) perhaps there’ll be some space for a progressive message to make some headway. But that’s an argument of despair in a sense, given the strength of those currently in power in the UK. I don’t know if this latest Evening Standard Ipsos MORI poll would give some hope or not. Not a lot I suppose as it suggests that one way or another, and particularly if there is a snap election, the Tories are cruising back to another overall majority.