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And what about voters attitudes in the UK to Brexit. March 29, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

And following on from the last post about polling in the UK. Reading this Matthew D’Ancona piece in the Guardian I was struck by an unfamiliar feeling… that being that he was fairly spot on. Writing about immigration promises from Brexiteers he shows how incorrect they were and further notes:

Keep an eye, meanwhile, on that word “illegals”, which is gaining poisonous currency as a catch-all term for all migrants and non-white people. In his interview with the Times in January, Donald Trump used it, quite inaccurately, to describe Syrian refugees welcomed to Germany. The intended force of the word is not hard to fathom. To call someone “illegal” is to strip them of their legitimacy and brand them as – at best – second class.
This is the sharp end of a broader phenomenon in which political language is being used with pernicious elasticity. The true legacy of the fading UK Independence party is not the EU referendum or its outcome. It has been to force the politics of Enoch Powell into the mainstream and to pour all social grievances, dysfunctions and resentments into a vessel, bursting at the seams, marked “immigration”.

And he notes how:

The broad claims of the referendum campaign are starting to dissolve into the pixelated reality of policy, practicality and compromise. According to a senior government source, a wonderful irony is now manifesting itself around the cabinet table in the contributions of Liam Fox, David Davis and Boris Johnson: “There’s no doubt that Theresa wants to bring down immigration. But the three main Brexiteers are suddenly becoming more and more vocal about the need to keep the numbers sufficiently high for the needs of the economy. You hear Liam saying: ‘We mustn’t do anything that threatens prosperity.’ It’s becoming more and more clear to them what’s at stake.”
In their defence Fox, Davis and Johnson would doubtless insist that their demand was only ever to “take back control” of immigration from the EU, rather than specifically to reduce the number of newcomers. But this was always disingenuous.

Yet this was the ground the Brexiteers chose to fight upon. As he says, UKIP’s shift from sovereignty to anti-immigration saw that party, and more important support for Brexit, increase markedly.
And what of this?

The message that the voters heard loud and clear was that escaping the grip of Brussels would mean fewer foreigners coming to Britain. As Deborah Mattinson’s fascinating Britainthinks panel surveys have shown, leave voters interpret “hard Brexit” unequivocally as being “tough on immigrants” and are uninterested in economic counter-arguments. What motivates leavers, Mattinson concludes, is “broader cultural issues”.

Well worth reading the analysis offered by Mattison here in PR Week. The panels conducted by BritainThinks offer a deeply troubling insight into how immigration is the key issue for so many, and clearly drove the vote.

2. That said, what unites ‘leavers’ is that the economic arguments, sacrosanct to so many politicians simply don’t matter. The main vote drivers were controlling immigration and restoring sovereignty. When economic arguments are raised, they are often contested, but ultimately drive decision making much less than these broader cultural issues.

There’s more too:

4. Another key learning is about the sheer weight of expectation. Voters from all but the ‘devastated pessimist’ group expect life to be good, post Brexit. The government has not really managed these expectations and it will be very hard now to live up to them. One typical ‘leaver’ said “I am looking forward to it. This is a fantastic opportunity to rebuild the country: more police, better hospitals, more schools and more teachers”, while even a ‘remainer’ observed “This is a chance to explore a different avenue for Britain. To see if this could make Britain even more successful.”

And keep in mind too how general polling, as noted previously still has enormous focus on immigration control.

This qualitative research has been reinforced by quantitative findings: according to an Ipsos Mori poll in Friday’s Evening Standard, 61% regard immigration curbs as the priority in the forthcoming negotiations. A recent study by the NatCen thinktank indicated that 68% want the principle of free movement to go.

That’s the Tory/UKIP Brexit.

BTW, this from Fintan O’Toole makes a not dissimilar point re overselling Brexit on the part of the Tories/UKIP, etc.


1. GW - March 29, 2017

Yes – the Brexit vote was a bit anti-establishment – but it was mainly anti-foreigner and racist.


2. irishelectionliterature - March 29, 2017

There were other reasons too….. such as bringing back the Death penalty!!!


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