Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Rafael Behr on why the Leave campaign won

There is an interesting article by Rafael Behr, seeking to explain the referendum outcome, which I think makes some important points, in the Guardian which you can read here.

It looks at things mainly from the Remain side, so I would not class it as a fully comprehensive analysis and not everyone would agree with everything it says: for a start I don't think any vote which is as close as 52% to 48% was inevitable. This one could have gone the other way as most people expected, although I always thought it was going to be close.

However, I think most of the wiser heads on both Leave and Remain sides who want to learn lessons from what the Referendum campaign and result tell us about Britain today will think there is some merit in the following conclusion which the article draws.

"No one on the remain side fully anticipated an emotional groundswell of contempt for the very idea of political authority as dispensed from a liberal citadel in Westminster. The remain politicians found themselves besieged by an angry insurrection, channelling grievances that were well known. They stood for a cause that became emblematic of a system that was alien, arrogant and remote – and they had no answer."

"Stronger In became the holding company for a liberal centrist political concept that had been transmitted in varying forms through the rise of New Labour and the ascent of Cameron. This had been the bastion of political orthodoxy for a generation, but its foundations had been corroded. Parliament’s status never recovered from the expenses scandal. The financial crisis led not to a redistribution of power and greater economic security but to austerity, coupled with apparent immunity for the elite from any consequences of their prior mismanagement. The unique opportunity of a referendum was to give voters the option of punishing a generation of politics, regardless of party allegiance."


Jim said...

That quote is a very elaborate way of saying "people are sick to death of the bubble"

Though I think there is a lot of truth in there. One of the main, if not THE main contributor of the "Leave" win is that unlike in 1975 people no longer depend on the legacy media or the main campaigns, the debate can take place on line, the facts can be checked very quickly by anyone with a smart phone. This really placed the main campaigns as nothing but a circus to entertain those within the bubble.

It was still a very close call, but when you do remember that "remain" was seen by many as the status quo, it shows what a mountain Leave had to climb. Look what it took to get Flexcit into the bubble at the 11th hour. Even now you will be hard pushed to find a politician or legacy media outlet like the BBC willing to name it.

Other things designed to aid the "remain" campaign campaign also backfired. The classic example of course being that during a time when many, especially those naturally on the left, are concerned about cuts, austerity, "bedroom tax", its ok to spend 9m quid of taxpayers money on a leaflet most people threw into the bin in disgust.

I guess lots of things like this can add up. I dont think anyone will ever know exactly why "leave" won, though, leave did and that is where we are.

The job now is to focus on getting on with things.

Anonymous said...

I don't think there was a single reason why leave won.

But although I think that many people being very fed up with the EU had a lot to do with it, I think that a lot of people wanting to kick "the establishment" or "the bubble" to use your term Jim, had even more.