The demographics of Brexit

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The lie of “evidence-based policy” and the accrual of the benefits of globalism to an ever-dwindling elite has created a situation where many people see no difference between doing nothing and burning everything to the ground.

It’s a powerful lesson for the US Democratic Party, who have taken the same people for granted, and who are in danger of having their lunches eaten by a racist Oompa Loompa who’s just banqueted on the GOP.

HRC should lean in to economic, multicultural and pragmatic populism.

One good speech about debt forgiveness as economic stimulus could make working voters forget there was ever a party called . . . what was it called again?


Let me guess?

IQ bell-curve abutted?

Too cruel?

Great, that’s the last thing we need - political suicide cults.


We got it, its the big government hating 1/2 the two party system GOP, championing Trump for POTUS even though they know its a bad idea. Same logic at play. If they were smarter they would kick Trump out on his ass, loose the election, and run with credit for taking one for the nation.


Oh, yeah, exactly - Brexit and Trump seem to be two manifestations of the same basic political suicide cult. Brexit has made that clear to me - I hadn’t considered that a factor with Trump before, and realizing that makes his supporters all the more disturbing. That’s not so far off from the post-Reagan Republican party, with their avowed goal of destroying the government (although, oddly, they always seem to increase the power of the federal government when they have the chance…), this is just more nihilistic.


How about UKip having had their 2014 conference there?

The trouble is that, while self-destructive activity is always ‘irrational’ in the homo-economicus sense; actual humans possess spite(and this isn’t always a bad thing, the willingness to hurt yourself in order to punish a malefactor can be a valuable deterrent), and tend to stop caring much about whether the pie makes it out alive at all if they get too small a slice of it.

Unfortunately, the ‘perhaps not squeezing them as hard as possible so that they still feel some investment in the collective outcome?’ plan doesn’t seem that popular.


Hillary can’t rake in millions from the multi-nationals and expect people to believe she will really do something about economic inequality.


Unfortunately for those who voted Leave, they’re about to see a very extended period of minimised investment.

If the north of England is financially under-served now, it was an abomination before Europe started helping. Westminster simply didn’t care. I’ve long suspected deep historical, and irrational, divisions were playing out.

I spent time in Nottingham, for instance, prior to its renaissance. It was no place to be. Now - wow!

They’ve sent themselves to an economic stone age.


It’s not really a new discovery and the same effect is in play in the UK. Just that pointing out that being white, male and blue collar is pretty grim, is closely followed by a cascade of accusations of #sexist; #racist rather than any meaningful action. So some join the fascist right and more keep their heads down until an opportunity like Brexit comes along to register their protest.


Leaders follow their base, and Sanders just organized a new progressive national base of working voters.

And the GOP’s base of working voters is scattering for the first time since 1968.

So there’s an opportunity there if we can move off the sidelines and begin aligning local and regional coalitions of democratic socialists and their allies.


One of my friends, a Dane living in Iceland, wrote these wise words elsewhere & I’d like to share them here. tl;dr;: Keep calm and renegotiate. This may not be the end of the world:

For the first time in the 21st century this stupid meme actually seems appropriate.

My (mostly non-British) friends in the UK all seem to be in a state of
panic, thinking perhaps that the UK referendum on the EU means they will
no be rounded up and kicked out of the country.

Some Danish lefties suddenly become arch liberals (in the US sense of
the word) and progressives become defenders of the status quo. Liberal
anti-racists and refugee activists suddenly think the deadly machinery
of Fortress Europe, which has killed tens of thousands of migrants, is
the single most important tool to fight xenophobia and secure human

And the few Brits that I know seem to believe that the British economy
is going to be destroyed, they will lose all rights to travel to the
continent, their health insurance will be invalid and the sky will fall.

All because of the outcome of a vote that NOBODY has any idea what the consequences will be.

Frankly, there are no direct legal consequences as such of this
referendum alone. No. The UK has not left the EU. One does not simply
leave the EU. The UK has voted to start the process of finding out what
it should do and what relations it should have. This is a process that
will take a long time and the outcome is not determined by this vote
alone but by the political will of future politicians.

The EU is not a place. It is also not a club with strictly defined
members and non-members. It is not something one just leaves. It is not
something one is either in or out of.

What we generally call the EU is a bundle of treaties and agreements.
Some of them apply to all members of the EU. Some don’t. Lots of them
even apply to non-members of the EU. So being a member or a non-member
of the EU does not determine whether you are in or out of particular
treaties and agreements. Governments of EU-nations have made decisions
and negotiations that some treaties do not apply to them, and
governments of non-EU nations have opted in to a bunch of treaties.
EU-membership alone does not determine your standing in a particular

For example: The UK already was not a full EU member. The UK was not in
the Schengen-treaty, the UK did not give foreign students equal rights
to the UK education system, the UK was not in the Third Phase of the
European Monetary Union (the Euro). All despite being formally an EU

For example: Norway and Iceland are in fact members of the
Schengen-treaty, do participate in the education exchange system, and
are signatories or followers of a bunch of treaties and regulations on
trade and production etc. All despite formally not being EU members.

In both cases it is the result of the national governments deciding to
opt in or out of a particular treaty - not of them being official EU
members or not.

This situation will continue. The change is that now the UK government
(or more likely: future governments) will have to decide which
individual EU treaties to be part of or to opt out of… but that is
really not a change. That is how it already was!

Also, since the EU is primarily a bunch of legal treaties, these are
still legally binding. That has not changed over night. The UK is still
signatory to all of them! The process of deciding which to opt out of,
or to change them, etc is likely to take a long time and will require a
lot of negotiation and contemplation both within the UK and between the
UK and the EU countries - and hopefully also within the EU.

The outcome of this process is still open and will depend on the
political will and climate of the future starting today. Which is why it
is so sad to see so many people panicking or despairing or giving up on
their political ideals and spirit. The battle for shaping the future
does not end now, it starts now. Now is when you need your principles
and fighting spirit because now is when things may get renegotiated.

To the nitty-gritty:

  • No, there is no reason to believe that EU citizens will lose their
    right to stay and work in the UK. EU citizens have that right in other
    non-EU countries. Whether that right will still exist in the future is
    not determined by this referendum but by the political decisions in the
    near future - a political will that is going to be shaped by the climate
    that we must all fight for.

  • No, British citizens will not lose their right to health care or
    retirement etc in other European countries. Those rights are tied in to
    various treaties that are independent of EU-membership. Non-EU nations
    are already signatories to those treaties and have been for decades.
    Again: if the UK opts out of that it will not be because of this
    referendum alone but because the UK government decides to do such a
    foolish thing.

  • No, the various and very minimal standards of consumer protection,
    environment, etc that are set in place in the thousands of EU
    regulations will not be abolished for the UK any time soon. I assume the
    UK still wants to trade with the rest of Europe and will therefore have
    to abide by those standards.

  • No, the British economy is probably not going to be destroyed due to
    this referendum alone. The pound is one of the strongest currencies in
    the world - despite today’s market panic. The UK is one of the three
    centers of global finance transaction. Etc etc etc. Why should those
    things change simply due to a referendum that has no immediate legal
    effect? It might of course - all economies can crash - but it will be a
    result of other factors and decisions, not this vote alone.

  • No, to those who voted “leave”: You still do not get to recreate the
    old empire. That ship has sailed and if you try to put it out to sea
    again, we will be here to sink it. Neither will you will be able to
    isolate yourself on your island. Your future existence and prosperity
    will still depend on your relations and agreements with other people.
    Deal with it.

  • Yes, some things in the UK may get shitty when the UK leaves the EU
    but that will be because the UK is shitty then. Not because the EU made
    things good. YOU are part of deciding whether your country should be
    shitty or not (I know, I know - we don’t all have equal power in that
    outcome, but we can give it our best try). It is not the fault of those
    who voted “leave” if your future politicians, labor organizers,
    environmental activists etc decide to give up on organizing and let your
    country be destroyed.

The future is shaped by those who organize and take things into their
own hands - not by those who give up in despair or let others make
decisions for them.

  • Yes, the “leave” campaign was dominated by racist nationalists. Do you
    know who to blame for that? Those progressives and lefties who kept
    silent or even turned their coats and defended the status quo (and the
    neoliberal and racist nationalist machinery that is part of the status
    quo) when they could have raised alternative arguments! Those who
    suddenly decided that Tony Blair’s and David Cameron’s and Frontex’s and
    Goldman Sachs’ vision of Europe seemed worth defending because those
    who defended the other side in the referendum were just too nasty. If
    you don’t like what the other side is saying, voice your OWN opinion -
    loudly and independently - not the opinion of the elite who wants things
    to stay the same.

Yes. As a result of that, the nasty, ugly, nationalist, racist parties
that where the only ones to represent the majority opinion in this
matter had a victory. And that can certainly result in a nasty political
climate in the UK in the near future. But was the political climate
really that wonderful before? Can we change it to the better? The answer
to this question will depend on the fighting spirit and organisation of
those who want a different climate. They simply cannot just blame the
lack of progressive voices on the loudness of right wing voices. This
struggle goes on and would have gone on regardless of the outcome of the

Yes. This will have a tremendous impact on the future of the European
Union. I do not know what the consequences will be. Frankly, anyone who
tell you that they do know, must be lying. Currently nobody knows.
Everything is up for renegotiation: the various legal treaties, the
relationship between countries, the federalist project, the local
political climates etc. All can be renegotiated and must be.

The result of those renegotiations will depend on future actions and
decisions - some of which start today, with us, not just in the UK but
in all of Europe.

  • No. The sky will probably not fall. Although the seas might rise and
    drown most of us. But that is due to climate change, not a referendum on
    the EU (and no, the EU is not going to save us from climate change.
    That, again, is up to all of us, and to the political decisions of
    governments etc)

Keep calm and renegotiate.


Right now, I feel the Dems have a hidden crisis on their hands. They need to come to terms with real dissastisfaction in their base instead of trying to spam the Trump card.

You can never please everyone, but right now we’re talking about a lot of people who are begging to be thrown a bone to gnaw on. This stuff comes cheap, too. A progressive VP candidate, though I personally consider this a worthless gesture, would go a long way right now. Other solutions: Calling for a fifteen dollar minimum wage, or committing to end the student debt crisis in a way that goes beyond letting people file for bankruptcy after twenty years. You don’t have to do all of these things. At this point, one of these is enough to put some wind in your sails.

If this is a close race, it’s not going to be because most of the country really truly supports Trump, but because there isn’t a competing vision. With Brexit, it’s hard to push for the status quo when people are unhappy with the way things are, even if the EU isn’t the ultimate source of dissastisfaction. The Dems don’t have that excuse. They don’t need to push for the status quo, and all they need to do is offer more than, “Hi! We’re not Trump!”


A lot of that article was more heat than light. let’s take a closer look.

1. Geography.
The geography of leave was not just the post-industrial Labour heartland that the article describes. The safely tory shires and the prosperous commuter towns of the south east also gave a strong leave vote. Also, this theory is confounded by the post industrial cities giving strong remain votes. Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Bristol have all gone through the same cycle of de-industrialisation as Sunderland and Doncaster, but they voted to stay.
It’s also laughable to paint “New Labour of the 90s” as generously redistributing jobs and cash to their heartlands. They were fully on board with the neoliberal project, inequality grew throughout their tenure (as measured by the UK’s Gini index.) and they prioritised the city and the south east of england as handily as any tory.

2. “Handouts”.
Again, the brexiters weren’t all culturally marginalised. The heart of the leave campaign was a very wealthy part of the tory party. Also, is it possible to argue against culturally marginalising people in such an incredibly condescending way? You can hear the sneer in the “leavers were all chavs getting handouts, but we shouldn’t mention that or they’ll do something stupid” narrative.

**3.**No future.
This is a bit more insightful. What it missed, however is that neither side put forward any positive visions of the future. The remain camp didn’t build a coherent narrative it just used a strategy of fear, uncertainty and doubt that was identical to the leave one. If you replaced, jobs and trade with immigrants, the two campaign’s sets of rhetoric would be completely interchangeable. The two official campaigns just talked past one another, all the time with duelling apocalyptic visions.
The only people who actually attempted any subtlety in their arguments were Jeremy Corbyn and Nicola Sturgeon.
Corbyn actually acknowledged the leave arguments, proposed policies to counter them and defended the remain side. All good, but he was largely ignored and is now being attacked by the remainers on his own side for being insufficiently on message with the portents of doom. Sturgeon offered a positive vision of nations cooperating across Europe, got her Remain majority and is now ready to charge towards the emergency exit.

4. “Facts”.
Oh holy fuck, where to begin with this mess of post-thought jargon.

5. Actual concise arguments. Was this written by someone else?
Here’s the meat of the article in two paragraphs. By not being involved in the mess of the Euro, the UK was in a good place in the EU. Now, the whole thing might collapse.

The whole thing ignored the national differences within the UK, the role of the press in hyping up anti EU and anti immigration hatred, failed to see that the causes of the causes of the split were rooted in a 20-year civil war at the heart of the tory party, and didn’t produce any solutions or suggestions about how things could have gone differently.


Thanks for injecting some much needed level-headedness into the depressing Brexit morass!

Organizing and keeping up the good fight is as good advice here as in many other difficult causes!

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“I’m voting Trump” has certainly been written in the tone of “fuck it” more than a few times.

They may, in fact, be generally interchangeable


That is clear and fair - and very Scandinavian. Which I love.

The thing your British living compatriots might be feeling is this: over the last 20 years, London and other cities have become highly cosmopolitan, interesting world cities, with people from everywhere bumping along together.

But there is always a xenophobic aspect to British society. It’s fearful, inappropriate, damaging, hypocritical. But it is always there. It is coupled with a weird true nastiness - I’ve always felt this is what Stanley Kubrick was bringing into the open with A Clockwork Orange - that is frightening, dangerous, but strong.

This is what I fear. The economic damage - immeasurable - is done, and will continue for 5-10 years, until the UK finds another path (there is no new Industrial Revolution force UK to lead).

But the xenophobia, the racism, the bigotry - that is what your friends are feeling, and when you’ve been subjected to it as I have, you know it is a palpable and all too possible outcome of the situation.


We should have anticipated the Deaton effect - it has applied in Russia since the fall of communism. Yeltsin’s rule allowed mass theft of public assets and job destruction, cheered on by the US, and the result was high mortality among the male working classes, which continues. We could argue, in fact, that this is an effect of neo-capitalism.
Britain leaving the EU is the disaster that nobody really intended. UKIP will lose a major source of income - MEP’s expenses. Farage no longer has a reason to exist. Johnson has clearly woken up to the fact that being PM won’t be a part time job as he knocks out another right-wing article at £5000 a pop for the Telegraph. He’s going to be surrounded by unpleasant events, and with the security he’s going to need, visiting his various mistresses is going to be quite difficult.
But the people who voted Leave won’t be aware of any of this. The financial crisis is going to be blamed on the EU taking revenge, and all those immigrants. In WW2, even as Zhukov’s tank armies were surrounding Berlin, the majority of Germans were still loyal to Hitler. The demographic core of Brexit seems basically to be older, poorly educated authoritarians. And they are the ones who will feel the worst effects.


In the 80s when I would visit Nottingham I thought it was fairly nice. Of course, I was coming from Hull.