“Certainly going to be interesting to see what happens in the UK in this coming week” I wrote here on 21 June. Well, that was a bit understated, eh!
Now I’m wondering if they should be dusting off the Honours of Scotland.
Perhaps because I am conscious that the greater part of my ancestry derives from Scotland and Ulster (maternal and paternal lines), I still tend to see the UK through that lens.
The Brexit vote showed interesting divisions on those lines.
See more maps here.
I must admit this aspect rather pleases me: “People gathered in Edinburgh and Glasgow to demonstrate against the result and show support for migrants.” Then there is this:
[Scotland’s First Minister] Ms Sturgeon said: “After a campaign that has been characterised in the rest of the UK by fear and hate, my priority in the days, weeks and months ahead will be to act at all times in the best interests of Scotland and in a way that unites, not divides us.
“Let me be clear about this. Whatever happens as a result of this outcome, England, Wales and Northern Ireland will always be Scotland’s closest neighbours and our best friends – nothing will change that.
“But I want to leave no-one in any doubt about this. I am proud of Scotland and how we voted yesterday.
“We proved that we are a modern, outward looking and inclusive country and we said clearly that we do not want to leave the European Union.
“I am determine to do what it takes to make sure these aspirations are realised.”
Here is a personal take from Edinburgh.
Amelia Baptie, 36, a mother of twins, said she was “heartbroken and devastated” by the result, as were most of the parents she spoke to in the playground.
She said: “I think if it was about hope on the Leave side then some good could come out of it, but it was about hatred.
“I am upset and worried. I don’t know what has happened to England. They have gone so much to the right and Scotland is being pulled along. My parents live in France and they are very worried now if they can stay, and about their income.”
I worry about some of the types in Europe who have been rejoicing about the UK’s choice – the likes of Le Pen and Wilders.
I really do think we might see another Scottish Independence referendum not far into the future.
Another element in the UK vote was generational. This 21 June article by Chris Cook on BBC foreshadowed that.
A new piece of evidence on this has been released by Populus, a pollster that is doing a lot of work for the Remain camp. Their data suggests:
- People aged 65 and over are 23% more likely to vote Leave than the average voter. Voters aged 18-24 are 37% more likely to back Remain. Those aged 25-34 are 19% more likely to back Remain than the average voter, the poll suggests
- Students are 54% more likely to back Remain than the average person. Graduates are 21% more likely. Meanwhile, people with no formal qualifications are 48% more likely to back Leave…
After the event see ‘What have we done’ – teenage anger over Brexit vote.
Finally, a different, wider viewpoint: The Long Road to Brexit.
Markets are stunned. Commenters are shocked. But future historians may view this moment as inevitable…
The debate has cut across the usual divisions of Conservative, Labour, and Liberal Democrat. There are left-wing Brexiteers (who dislike the EU for its lack of democracy and enforced economic austerity) and left-wing Remainers (who like its internationalism); right-wing Remainers (who see the EU as a huge market) and right-wing Brexiteers (who see it as an affront to national sovereignty). There has also been a national dimension: The biggest supporters of Brexit have been the English, and now suddenly the Welsh; the Scots and Irish, for different reasons, have taken the opposite view.
The campaign has highlighted differences too among generations, among regions, and perhaps most importantly among classes and among cultures. Supporters of the “Remain” campaign were disproportionately the young, educated middle classes, who saw the EU as both in their interests and as the political equivalent of motherhood and apple pie. Supporters of Brexit were disproportionately older, less educated, and less wealthy, and think their voices are more likely to be heard in an autonomous national state. Attitudes to immigration from the EU — unrestricted under EU law and running at nearly 200,000 per year — became the shibboleth. Remain saw immigration as a token of enlightenment, economic freedom and cosmopolitanism. The “Leave” campaign saw it as a cause of depressed wages, stressed public services, and long-term danger to national identity. The EU question has become more polarized ideologically in Britain than anywhere else in Europe…
Where indeed will it all end?
Have been reading heaps of posts. This one stands out: Called back to the present by Scottish physician Bob Leckridge, now living in France.
… and Jim Belshaw:
I watched the UK’s Brexit vote first with interest then with fascination and then with a degree of horror. I was opposed to the original decision to join the EEC, but after forty years membership unpicking the whole thing becomes difficult. Further, the campaign itself and the consequent vote played to and accentuated divides in the UK….
Yes, Jim’s post has disappeared! But now it’s back!