Home / Dave Brockington / Brexit: Who Voted How? Evidence from Ashcroft

Brexit: Who Voted How? Evidence from Ashcroft



Good morning, newly sovereign Britain and welcome to your new leadership team! We had Blair-Brown, then Cameron-Osborne, and now we’ll enjoy Prime Minister Johnson and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rubble.

Unlike yesterday’s immediate reaction post, this one is written on 24 hours of sleep uh, written 24 hours later on seven hours of sleep.

First, Scott L has it bang-on. While there are distinct similarities in the motivations of the Leavers and Trump supporters (as well as parts of Sanders support), the the contexts of the two votes are different enough such that the lessons that can be drawn are background, and not worthy of basing a forecast upon. Of course, given my very recent track record of superiority in forecasting, this should probably make people worry.  I did get the Cameron resignation right, but then low hanging fruit . . .

We now have some (patchy) data to assess the two variables I said that we should be attentive to in the run in to the referendum.  Turnout we’re not going to be able to assess yet, and in terms of raw turnout, we have nothing to compare it with really so that might never be properly assessed.  However, the received wisdom of political science and psephology, that undecideds significantly break for the status quo the closer we get to polling day (I estimated 3:1), is not receiving support, and this might be one key to understanding how my 52:48 prediction went ass-backwards (as well as why NCP’s forecast of 53:47 was just a bit off).



Those data are from an Ashcroft poll (details here, a lot of interesting stuff to pore over) conducted immediately after the referendum, with an N of over 12,000.  Those who decided a week out split 7%-6% for remain, a few days out 8%-7%, on the day 10%-9%. While there’s a marginal advantage for remain in the late deciders, these data suggest it’s only 53%.  Not the 2:1 or 3:1 breaks for the status quo we typically expect.

Demographics did work out as expected. The age gap (which we’ve known about for well over a month) is receiving a lot of attention in the media at present, as though everybody is surprised. Social class worked out as well; the higher up the socio-economic ladder one is, the odds of voting remain increase.  However, where pre-referendum models suggested social class C1 (lower middle class) would just support remain, they ultimately just supported leave (and the professional classes, A & B, did not support remain at the rate initially thought). The age gap is striking.


The next two figures illustrate the support for each side in party political terms, and how the parties own supporters voted. I have two observations here. First, it was Conservative voters who drove Brexit. 40% of leave support was Tory, 25% UKIP, and 21% Labour. Yes, a nice cross-party distribution, but there were over three Tory/UKIP (in the parlance of Plymouth Labour as we’re now enjoying a Con-Kip coalition in this fair city, “Blukip”) supporters for every one Labour supporter voting leave.  Additionally, this also tests my off-the-cuff suggestion yesterday morning that greater than 35% of Labour supporters voted leave. Ashcroft estimates the figure at 37%. While the traditional Labour heartlands of the northwest and northeast went huge for leave, Labour by and large did not. 58% of Conservatives did.

As the Labour Party itself is going through an uncertain period (charitably stated), one thing I’ve been hearing and reading that does need to stop now is that we didn’t “lose” more of our supporters than originally expected. Indeed, the 37% estimate is in line with expectations. Additionally, it doesn’t mean that all of those supporters we “lost” to leave were the traditional working class base. That figure must include a large degree of Lexiters, as evidenced by the 25% of Green Party supporters who inexplicably voted leave.

And just who are those 4% of UKIP supporters who voted remain?  Statistically, there had to be some, of course, but it’s still hilarious fun to point it out.










And now, the money shot. Why did the lies of the leave campaign resonate?  Why was Gove sage to suggest that Britain has had enough of experts experting us to death with facts in their expert ways? Self-reported political attentiveness breaks as we would think.


It’s not as stark as I’d have thought, but this is self-reported. There’s a lot more there in the link above worth looking at, of course. Later today, but more likely tomorrow, I’ll have some further thoughts on the result of the result, Article 50, and speculate as to just what the hell Boris Johnson is up to.

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  • MilitantlyAardvark

    Well, it’s certainly going to be interesting to watch Boris Trumpson bumble around squeaking that article 50 doesn’t need to happen, really, mate, just ‘aving a laugh and why doesn’t Angela Merkel have a sensayuma, typical Kraut no no I didn’t mean that wonderful people the Krauts I mean Germans, good Germans, don’t mention the war and why do we always lose on penalties oh that was Iceland not the Krauts I mean the Germans, good Germans and I love their wonderful kulcha and the sausages yes the wonderful sausages….while the EU grimly communicates its decision to finally vote the UK off the island.

    • Regulust

      And let’s not forget Nigel Falange Farage and his GLaDOS impression: “The £350 million NHS cake is a lie”.

      • sibusisodan

        At this point the best I can hope for is that Art. 50 is never invoked.

        Trying to work out who that will annoy more – our electorate, or the rest of the EU…

        • MilitantlyAardvark

          The EU are talking to their lawyers about whether they can compel the UK to invoke article 50. Expect the EU army to deploy its garlic-eating Romanian Muslim panzer hordes any day now.

          I think negotiations have reached this stage:


    • JohnT

      Yeah, they’re pissed. 30 years of concessions and special treatment for nothing.
      Of course one of the many ironies is that one of those concenssions was to humour the British in their push for enlargement – so thats how the famous Polish hordes got their ‘in’

      • AMK

        Sort of like how years of devolution was supposed to put the kibosh on the whole “Scorland is a different country” thing…

  • JohnT

    Short version of demographics: the uneducated voted for foolishness, the poor voted that more should be poor and the nearly-dead voted for the living to envy the dead. Simple really

    • MilitantlyAardvark

      Perhaps Farageistan can now adopt a flag consisting of a short, fat, bald, white loser shrieking “Wankers!” at planet earth.

    • ThrottleJockey

      How ever did Britain get on before it joined the EU?

      • MilitantlyAardvark

        Not that well, really. They had a string of weak governments before Thatcher (she who managed to damage the public finances,tear up the social contract and fritter away the North Sea oil revenues in one orgy of corrupt ideology). At various points the IMF was consulted and/or intervened….

      • sibusisodan

        We wanted to join the EEC for 20 years before being allowed to.

        Times have changed of course, but the factors that made it a better bet to be In have got stronger, not weaker since then.

      • AMK

        Well there was the empire as a trading bloc before WW2, then for a time after that there was the reconstruction period that kept competition lower than it would have been. Then the UK joined.

      • This is dumb even not considering the other replies that point out “poorly”.

        Let’s say it was doing great 40 years ago. That doesn’t mean that it will easily return to the status quo ante after leave. 40 years have happened! The world has changed!

        MacK pointed out that we have almost *no* people with experience in trade negotiations! The most prominent person with *any* recent experience is *Nick Clegg*!

        We immediately dropped behind France in terms of size of economy.

        We stand to lose Scotland and maybe other parts. That wasn’t a real possibility 40 years ago!

        So, the question isn’t “How *ever* [stupid snark] did Britain get on before it joined the EU?” but “How will it get on now?” The answer to the former is “poorly”. And the answer to the latter is “worse than before”.

        • The Lorax

          This strikes me as entirely right. And put this way it’s really heartbreaking.

        • MacK

          To explain you have to understand Imperial Preference, later relabelled Commonwealth Preference.

          The British Empire had a system of tariff walls that forced the empire to buy UK’s manufactured goods and effectively forced the bulk of the empires raw material production to flow to the UK for processing, so Indian Cotton, Indian and African Tea, etc. ore from Canada, Australia, etc. Although the system was very rapidly fading in 1951-7 as the treaties were established, it still drove a lot of UK export markets because India, Australia, New Zealand, large parts of Asia (Singapore, Malaya, etc.) were still dependent on the “mother country” for manufactured goods. Joining the EU would have meant largely ending that system, and the British were convinced that the Empire would continue to want to buy Morris and Austins and other crappy British cars, Lucas electrics, British locos etc. at inflated prices. So the UK decided not to join the nascent EEC and Ireland which was closely bound to the UK economy was dutifully forced to follow suit.

          Not joining the EEC was a huge mistake – the logic of the Imperial/Commonwealth Preference argument collapsed as the Commonwealth started, no longer behind London set tariff barriers, started buying US, EEC and Japanese manufactured goods. Suddenly the UK decided it needed to join the EU – 4 years after it stayed out of the Treaty of Rome – so 1961, Denmark, Ireland, Norway and the United Kingdom applied to join then “three Communities” of which the EEC was the core element – and de Gaulle vetoed it. That left the UK, its economy sliding while the EEC enjoyed huge economic growth (not just German, France calls those years still les trentes gloriouses) in deep deep economic shit.

          Finally in 1973 de Gaulle could no longer block UK accession and it became a member in 1973, but effectively was fully in by 1975. For about 40 years after the UK economy has grown on the back of EU trade. Here is an article detailing it (possible paywall):


          So the answer is that not being in the EEC went pretty badly for the UK.

  • heckblazer

    Looking at that picture made me start to wonder, is there some EU directive forbidding dentists practicing in the UK?

    • petesh

      No, that long predates the EU. I had toothache while visiting a friend in Lancashire in 1975, and the dentist was amazed (and happy) that I still had my teeth. There, he said, it was common practice to have them all removed as soon as your mouth was fully grown, on the grounds that replacing all those fillings was a tedious waste of time. Lots and lots and lots of sugar at an early age.

    • Karen24

      He also has an extremely grating voice, which is an accomplishment considering how pleasant the typical upper crust BBC-type accent sounds to an American.

      I have concluded that the core principle of modern conservatism is that male politicians should be exceptionally ugly and that hairbrushes are for losers.

    • Dennis Orphen

      Had to do Keef first, then Shane. Now that Everest has been climbed, the rest are up at the front of the que.

    • We can’t get fluoridation of the water! (This is a cross EU problem.)

      I’ve talked with very smart computer scientists who were full crackpot on fluoridation.

  • apogean

    The 4% of UKIP Remainers may be due to the Lizardman constant.

    • CrunchyFrog

      It’s the same as the 4% of self-reported Democrats who say they trust Fox News more than any other news source. Between data entry error, not understanding the question, and wanting to fuck with the poll results there will always be a subset of bogus answers to any question.

    • Merkwürdigliebe

      Thank you. The Lizardman constant shall henceforth be an integral part of my intellectual life.

    • Ronan

      I was about to comment on that, and wonder what exactly this 4% thought they were signing up to when joining ukip.

  • Dave, there are all these cute stories about remorseful leavers…will we get any sense of how large a bloc that is? We lost by a million votes, I can’t believe that even with the obvious consequences that those million won’t delude themselves.

    • sibusisodan

      In addition numbers for people who didn’t realise they were voting for something, I’d also like numbers for people who might be susceptible to changing their decision based on the (likely) deals we’ll get on exit.

      I would have thought ‘free trade, but also free movement, and no input into lawmaking’ would change a fair few peoples’ minds.

      Perhaps that’s wishful thinking.

      • deptfordx

        I ust watched an interview with a pro and anti BREXIT pair, filmed in some small town square. After the leave guy was repeatedly reminded of the catastrophic consequences, which he breezily waved away, he literally turned and waved his hand to the vegetable market setting up behind him and said “See, everythings perfectly normal. There’s nothing to worry about”.

        The delusion is bone deep.

        • MilitantlyAardvark

          Well, many of his cousins were probably lying on that vegetable stall saying the same thing and with the same vacant expression.

      • Ken

        From the sounds the EU is making, those exit deals range from “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out” to “We will burn your fields, raze your cities, and sell you and your children into perpetual slavery”.

        The latter only metaphorically, of course, the real version being “Ask the IMF about some help until you get back on your feet.”

  • I think I’m going to apply for that Irish passport now after all.

    • deptfordx

      My father was actually born in the Republic and came over with his dad when I was 10, so I’m actually eligble for fast track citizenship if I wanted it. I’m seriously thinking about getting the passport at least.

      • deptfordx

        That should be ‘When he was 10′.

  • deptfordx

    It’s Boris Jonson I find most enraging. The man was Mayor of London for Gods sake. He knows perfectly well how disastrous BREXIT will be, but he ignored all that out of breathtakingly cynical political opportunism.

    *Sigh* ‘Why Boris. It profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world … but for PM?’

    • Johnson and Cameron both did this. They are both with out a shred of statesmanship.

      • The Lorax

        Yep. It is crucial that both get the blame for the fallout.

        • MacK

          And the Corbynites

          • They are on a different order, but yes, they deserve some blame.

            • Murc

              I’m not sure that follows. Voting for Corbyn as Labour leader over the idiots who were on the ballot with him doesn’t necessarily assign blame, direct or indirect, on the people who did so for his failures.

              By that logic blame attaches to me for Barack Obama’s failures, or for Hillary Clinton’s future failures.

              I mean, “you bear moral culpability for the actions of those for whom you vote for” isn’t an entirely out-of-bounds philosophical statement, but it also doesn’t seem to dovetail well with the expressed sentiments of many here that “voting is not a morality play, you have to vote for the crook sometimes, it’s important.” That seems to put people in a difficult catch-22; if you don’t vote for the crook, you’re responsible because the worse-than-the-crook got in, but if you do vote for the crook you’re responsible for the crooked things they do.

              • Chaz

                If you are a gung ho supporter of your country’s leader, ready to vote for them over any other potential candidate, then yeah, you are totally responsible for what they do.

                This is why I kind of disapprove of people who were strong Hillary boosters in the primary, because I fully expect that Hillary is going to bomb a bunch of civilians in Yemen and God knows where else. There were other choices. Bernie would bomb less people. Martin O’Malley would probably bomb less people (I don’t know much about him but I’m assuming he is a typical Dem, whereas Hillary is a hawkish Dem). And either of them would be just as likely to beat Trump as Hillary is.

                Likewise if you vote for any (US) Republican ever, in a race that features a viable non-Republican candidate, then you’re guilty as hell. You’re guilty even if they do an okay job, because that would be unexpected luck.

                But if you can identify good, fairly plausible candidates who you would like to vote for, and are instead forced to choose between two crappy candidates, because the bulk of your countrymen are fools who only support crappy candidates, then that is not your fault. It is the fault of the people who genuinely support those shitheads and fail to support anyone good.

                Not sure how Corbyn comes into it. To this USian he seems like a good dude. His principles and track record are a hundred miles more admirable than most Labour members or Democrats. I guess people feel he’s bad at managing the party and campaigning? But even if Labour is struggling how much is that the fault of all the New Labour fuckwits who are openly obstructing and sabotaging him?

                • Murc

                  This sort of moral calculus seems impossibly fiddly. It says the only morally legitimate way to be involved in elections is to be some sort of passionless, detached observer who only participates out of an abstract sense of duty, because if you’re ever super enthusiastic in expressing your support for someone that means you’re morally tainted by any bad shit they do in the future.

                • addicted44

                  Its worse. It implies that the most principled stance to take is to not vote at all.

                  If you supported no one you can’t be blamed for anything apparently.

                  The worst that can be said of Corby supporters is they failed to judge him as a leader. Corbyn can be accused of being a terrible leader. But none of them have moral culpability for the Leave vote (unless they voted or supported Leave)

              • I’m not sure that follows. Voting for Corbyn as Labour leader over the idiots who were on the ballot with him doesn’t necessarily assign blame, direct or indirect, on the people who did so for his failures.

                Hmm. I read that as “Corbyn and his cronies” not “those who voted for Corbyn”. If the former, I stand by what I said. If the latter, I agree with you.

                • By the way, I really hate Corbyn right now, so I’m probably prone to overstatement against him.

                  I mean *really really* hate. I was hating him last week for his weak ass performance then, but I super hate him now.

                  I want him to try to roll this back, and he’s already talking about moving on and making the deal.

                  I can’t shake the feeling that he’s happy with this outcome.

      • CrunchyFrog

        So you’re saying they do have a future in the Republican party, if the Tory thing doesn’t work out for them.

  • Is there any data on how turnout broke down by age? I saw someone on twitter claiming that turnout among the under-30s came to only 28%, which would put quite a different spin on the “old people voted to screw the young” narrative if true. Though I have to say that I find that number questionable, both because it was just someone on twitter, and because that’s a shockingly low number for a referendum in which the overall turnout was a staggering 72%.

  • MacK

    The table I though was most interesting was the social attitudes table which Ashcroft summarised as follows:

    By large majorities, voters who saw multiculturalism, feminism, the Green movement, globalisation and immigration as forces for good voted to remain in the EU; those who saw them as a force for ill voted by even larger majorities to leave.

    In short if you think the internet is a BAD THING you voted leave, if you think feminism and women rights are bad, you voted leave, if you think they are good you voted remain, if you think “multiculturalism” is bad you voted leave, goo you voted remain, if you oppose environmental law you voted leave, support it you voted remain. Support social liberalism – gay rights, remain, oppose – leave.

    The knuckle draggers won!

    • MilitantlyAardvark

      The Leavers are furious that anyone could consider them to be bigots and racists rather than enlightened philosophers of sovereignty. This is basically like supporting the Confederacy “because of states’ rights” while claiming that you don’t really support slavery. You just happen to be part of a cause dedicated to maintaining it, which is, of course, totes different.

      • MacK

        I have never known a racist to admit openly to being a racist, they all “poor darlings” simply claim that they are misunderstood, and the misunderstanding is because I don’t know the truth about “those people.”

    • sibusisodan

      From the cross-tabs, ‘force for ill’ on those issues correlates strongly with age.

      • xq

        Also class. Everyone else is overinterpreting this.

    • Ronan

      Yeah, as much as economic decline , age and class, it seems “values” were important. brexitters were generally more reactionary, nationalist and authoritarian, independently of this specific referendum question

      • MacK

        Did you read Fintan O’Toole’s piece in the Gruniad:


        And by the way Ian Paisley Jr., after being a loud Brexit backer just called on his constituents to go apply for an Irish Passport.

        Mr Paisley was speaking from the podium at the unveiling of a 28-page document published by Leave.EU and Global Britain, that makes the “positive case” for Northern Ireland outside of the EU, alongside the rest of the UK.

        18 May 2016

        and now

        My advice is if you are entitled to second passport then take one. I sign off lots of applications for constituents.

        Tweet at 1:17 PM – 24 Jun 2016

        To quote Boris Johnson, “I’m pro having your cake and eating it….” but only for Ulster Unionists, who knew that could leave the EU and stay at the same time.

        • Ronan

          I saw the o Toole column only a couple of hours ago. I agree with him on the sentiment, that it’s a careless and self absorbed act (but that’s always been the way with the Tory British nationalist faction when it came to.Ireland). I genuinely have no idea what’s going to happen with the north if/when the UK leaves Europe and if the Scots leave the UK. I’d be optimistic enough the violence won’t restart, but don’t know. What are your thoughts?
          Perhaps the paisley thing is a sign of growth. They were never known for being a practically minded family.

        • Ronan

          The DUP supporting brexit makes more sense if you see it as a question of values aswell. Because on economics (eu transfers to the north) distributional (transfers to a lot of their rural constituents) or political (the potential break up of the UK) it makes no sense

          • MacK

            I think that none of the Unionists considered the emotional impact that Scotland leaving the UK might have on unionism in Northern Ireland. A huge part of the Unionist attachment to Britain is an attachment to Scotland, where presbyterianism for example comes from – a lot of Ulster prods see themselves as being Scottish-British, not English-British.

            What happens when they all start getting Irish passports (and suddenly become de jure citizens of the dreaded Irish Republic), Scotland leaves the EU, London cuts funding to Northern Ireland or does not replace EU funds, agricultural subsidies are cut (EU agricultural policy is a bug-a-boo for the Brexit crowd), milk and beef prices fall further as EU markets disappear at the same time as EU protection….

            I know Sinn Féin’s demand for a border poll sounds unlikely right now, but, wait and see.

            • Ronan

              One thing I’d worry about is that Sinn Féin, being Sinn Féin, will do their level best to turn what might be (from their perspective) a promising opening into a disaster. A border poll called opportunistically , that didn’t take seriously the concerns, interests and preferences of unionists, and that whipped up.a lot of nationalist sentiment in the south, could be as equally ugly as the brexit campaign.

              • MacK

                If they were wise (and they are not) they’d simply fly that kite and keep it up there with gentle puffs of slightly warmed air. Let some unionists slowly start rolling the log (mixed metaphor.) The numbers in 2015 were like this: support for a united ireland in northern ireland

                The problem is that the question has changed. It is not longer one of stay in a United Kingdom in the EU, but perhaps stay in an England not in the EU. As that sinks in the impact on the opinion of catholics who were content with the current settlement will be very negative. So if you look at the last census (2011) 48 per cent (864,000) of Northern Ireland’s 1.8 million population originated from Protestant households while those from Catholic households accounted for 45 per cent. Only about 3% of protestants in 2015 back an immediate United Ireland, ⅔ of Catholics backed one “in their lifetime.” But it is fair to say that the remaining ¼ to ⅓ of Catholics are at best soft Unionists.

                The result it that if the numbers of Catholics who decide to back a united Ireland were to rise from ⅔ to ¾ at present to 90% (40.5% of the total vote) and less than ¼ of protestants switch to being in favour (12% of the total vote), then there is a majority for a United Ireland. This is not unfeasible.

                • Amanda in the South Bay

                  Well, then how are you going to get a lot more Northern Catholics to want to be part of the Republic? Just time? That’s always been the problem with basing political calculations on sheer demographics-there are enough pro Unionist Catholics that you can’t simply say a Catholic = republican/nationalist.

                • Ronan

                  (Mack, your link is dead)
                  Amanda- outside of identity issues, there are a number of pragmatic reasons NI Catholics oppose a United ireland (the north gets a lot of investment from the UK*, has a higher proportion of public sector jobs due to investment used to placate the Catholic middle class during the troubles**, the NHS***). Guarantee people all of these and you might convince more in. (Also, as Mack says, perhaps the calculations have changed post brexit)

                  *not sure how much is from the UK and how much the eu.

                  **this was the case anyway. I’m not sure if it still is to the same extent, but I think.the north spends more on public sector jobs than the rest of the UK.

                  *** a positive outcome of a United ireland could be a free at the point of use health system.in the republic. Well, maybe.

                • Amanda in the South Bay

                  Also the Republic is much more culturally liberal than it was a few decades ago.

            • I know Sinn Féin’s demand for a border poll sounds unlikely right now, but, wait and see.

              “Mr. Paisley, pay for this wall!”

            • Amanda in the South Bay

              Perhaps a lot of Presbyterian Unionists will move back to Scotland?

              • Move back to Scotland? They’ve been in Northern Ireland for almost 400 years. There’s nowhere to move “back to”.

                • Ronan

                  Yeah, talking of the long term difficulties of integrating immigrants….

                • Hogan


            • Hogan

              So, divorce England and marry Scotland?

    • heckblazer

      On the table I saw I found it interesting that opinions on the worth of capitalism were almost evenly split.

      • MacK

        Hey, I believe in capitalism – but I also believe that if you want to preserve capitalism you have to recognise that it contains the seeds of its own potential destruction – which is what happened in Tsarist Russia, China, Cuba, etc. and nearly happened in Western Europe and the US in the 30s.

        Capitalism has to take concrete measures to save itself. It needs antitrust and competition laws, it needs protections for workers rights, it needs environmental protection – it needs ways to avoid free riders on the environment, roads, etc. Libertarians don’t understand and refuse to recognise that Marxism grew out of the behaviour of Capitalism in the 19th and early 20th century – that Marx and Engels predicted that the excesses of capitalism would lead to their revolution. Intelligent capitalists, ranging from Teddy Roosevelt and FDR to Europe’s social and christian democrats all recognised that unless they curbed these excesses, capitalism was doomed.

        The cretin’s wing of capitalists seems to think that unbridled capitalism is the way to go – and no one can breath the air in many Chinese cities and workers have nearly no rights – and it was workers exposed to un-regualted capitalism who voted for Brexit, moronically by the way.

    • bender

      Surely one of the underlying issues in this referendum is the insistence that those five (multiculturalism, feminism, immigration, globalization, environmentalism) are a set that can’t be broken up. One of these things is not like the others.

      Have you forgotten the intense anti-WTO protests in Seattle and elsewhere? A lot of those people were Greens and feminists. And those protests were organized on social media by people who use the Internet every day.

      To me “globalization” means multinational corporations controlling everything without any check on their behavior. Nestle promoting formula over mother’s milk to women who don’t have clean water to mix formula with (and the same corporation buys up sources of clean water to sell in plastic bottles). Imported GMO corn from gigantic fossil fuel intensive farms that employ almost no one, making it impossible for peasant farmers to earn a living from their own land. Clearcutting tropical rainforests for palm oil plantations selling their product to cookie manufacturers.

      These are more obvious issues in developing nations than they are in Britain, but I’m hearing analysis that many people who voted to leave the EU don’t think globalization is benefitting them.

      Exchanges of ideas and cultural products can take place without unfettered flow of capital, but it is in the interest of financiers to conflate the two.

      Before someone points out the obvious, I know the EU has much better policies on GMO than the US does.

      • MacK

        You know the old cliché about speaking “truth to power….” it’s just a cliché. the tush is that Power speaks to power, powerlessness can scream the truth ad infinitum and power won’t listen. That’s the reason workers form unions, voters and politicians join parties, it is to gather the power to speak to power.

        I do not agree by the way with the more hysterical side of the Green lobby on GMO, but they have a right to be heard, even though they are often anti-fact, anti-expert and anti-science (those Greens having a lot to do with the Brexiters (indeed some were pro-Brexit because of this tendency) I was hectored by some in May on GMO etc and how the EU was bad for the environment.)

        Still the big issue in worker’s rights, environmental protection, etc. etc. is that small governments do not have the power or weight to take on large economic forces (in the US look at Wst Virginia.) In reality David gets crushed like a bug by Goliath, Britain was getting hammered in WW II until the US and USSR joined the war, it was clinging on by its fingernails (and had Hitler not launched Barbarossa or been so stupid to declare war on the US (or Roosevelt not provided Lend-Lease or lost the 1940 election….)) it would have lost.

        The Brexit leaders are rightwing ideologues who want to make a bonfire of employment laws, environmental regulations, etc. privatise everything in sight, open the UK borders (Hanan let that cat out of the bag this morning) and see a UK government as much less able to resist their pressure and economic hostage taking than the EU as a whole – and they may be right. It was the UK under pressure from China that vetoed EU anti-dumping duties on Chinese steel. The UK within the EU has consistently been more vulnerable to big money pressure. Out of the EU it will be hugely vulnerable.

        • sonamib

          Heh, you just provided a much better and more detailed version of my argument below.

        • The Brexit leaders are rightwing ideologues who want to make a bonfire of employment laws, environmental regulations, etc. privatise everything in sight, open the UK borders (Hanan let that cat out of the bag this morning) and see a UK government as much less able to resist their pressure and economic hostage taking than the EU as a whole – and they may be right.

          Which is a key reason why Lexit was as idiotic a position as imaginable in a spectrum filled with idiocy. This is why Corbyn must go: If he couldn’t figure out what a disaster this was for the country he should have figured out what a disaster it was for Labour.

      • sonamib

        Globalization, like it or not, is a fact. As you rightfully point out, corporations like Nestle are already global.

        So how do we deal with that fact? We create multinational or even global institutions. Otherwise we’ll just be helpless, and globalization will keep on being chaotic and unaccountable.

        • Michael Cain

          Given the age and demographic differences, I suspect there are two views of globalization. For one group, globalization means “I can do graphic design work in Paris, or write real-time software in Berlin.” For a quite different group, globalization means “The f**kers moved the assembly line to Vietnam.”

    • Incontinentia Buttocks

      I actually saw a chart that showed Leavers and Remainers having identical levels of approval for the internet.

      • MacK

        Yes, but of those oddballs who think its a “bad thing” 75% + are Leave.

  • Gallipoli

    Are there any breakdowns of the voting data by gender? (I’m also curious about age breakdowns within Scotland and N. Ireland, although less so.)

    • Bill Murray

      Gender is in one of the graphs provided. There was no difference between leave and remain by gender

  • Eli Rabett

    Oh, btw, this is all Corbyn’s fault wouldn’t you know. Why the hell he should have saved Cameron’s magic pony show is not clear but it is his fault for sure and if not his fault it is the SNP’s fault

    • MacK

      Oh Corbyn should carry a lot of the blame. Yes Cameron called the referendum, but he did fight hard and with passion for remain, and did Osborne (and I cannot stand him) – Corbyn on the other hand was limp, weak and constantly seemed to have been semaphoring “my heart’s not in it” because it was not, he was always anti-EU as are his political cronies in North London, who he was semaphoring to. This vote was carried by 1.9% Had just 1% of those voted Remain, or turnout among young voters been up by 2% Remain would have won. Anyone who this the limp performance of the Corbynites was not a key factor is delusional.

      They should dump him at the parliamentary party meeting with extreme prejudice, and that arse MacDonald. And if I met him right now, I’d have to restrain myself from punching his smug beardy face. He is a ****** waste of space, and a useless person.

      • MilitantlyAardvark

        Well, judging by his speech, Corbyn is going to stick around, even though the MPs obviously want him gone yesterday.

        • DW

          Yabbut, when hasn’t that been the case?

        • MacK

          No he’s not, every interview I’ve seen beyond his claque has condemned him, even Polly Toynbee has turned on him. He’s toast.

          • MilitantlyAardvark

            He’s toast as far as the MPs and (many)journalists are concerned – but he gives every indication of intending to stick around and, by all accounts, he has the backing of the unions and much of the party membership. Removing him may not be easy – and I’ve seen reports that the rebels expect him to survive the first attempt, which would mean an ongoing, repeated campaign to grind him down.

      • efc

        always anti-EU as are his political cronies in North London, who he was semaphoring to

        In which part of Northern London do these people live? It couldn’t be Islington because they voted 76,420 to 25,180 in favor of remaining in the EU.

        Did you mean to complain about Dame Margret Hodge? Because her area (Barking and Dagenham) went Leave.

        Cameron and Osborne were campaigning passionately. Threats and predictions of doom are usually the best way to convince people to support your side.

        Is that what Corbyn should have done? Shared a platform with Cameron and say the EU is great and doesn’t need reform other than Cameron’s negotiated changes? Lied about the ability of the UK to restrict immigration from the EU? Ignored the impact of Tory austerity (I’m sure Cameron and Osborne would just sit and watch while Corbyn told people how Tory austerity caused all of their problems, not immigrants)?

        Corbyn got ~63% of 2015 labor voters to vote remain. Should have personally driven the other 37 odd percent to the ballot box and made sure they voted Remain? Does Tim Farron need to step down? He only got about 70% of lib dems to vote remain. Apparently less than 100% is a total failure.

        • Corbyn got ~63% of 2015 labor voters to vote remain.

          Let’s grant that “he” did that. He did it with a fucking ambiguous, lacklustre campaign. If he had that much power, why didn’t he do a little more and pull off the win.

          You cannot simultaneously give him credit for what bit of Labour did vote and not castigate him for the campaign he ran.

          How about making it all about UKIP and Johnson? That could have helped. How about working the youth vote?

          I mean, do you at least agree that his performance was poor?

          • efc

            How about working the youth vote?

            Hahahahah. http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/may/13/jeremy-corbyn-young-voters-eu-referendum

            From what I’ve seen on the Guardian in the last couple of days the problem was Corbyn only went after the youth vote and didn’t try talking to other people.

            You should talk to MacK because he/she thinks the problem was Corbyn didn’t go beyond where he was comfortable (i.e. the youth and London).

            But for the rest:

            Let’s grant that “he” did that. He did it with a fucking ambiguous, lacklustre campaign. If he had that much power, why didn’t he do a little more and pull off the win.

            You cannot simultaneously give him credit for what bit of Labour did vote and not castigate him for the campaign he ran.

            I mean, you’re positing 100% of labour voters for remain is the metric of success. Anything less than that is evidence of failure. Clearly that wasn’t going to happen. I don’t know if you noticed, but there were sitting Labour MPs who supported leave. That would seem to indicate there is a labour constituency for leave and there would never be 100% support. But yes, Corbyn could have magically persuaded all of them to vote remain.

            How about making it all about UKIP and Johnson? That could have helped.


            I’m only putting in one link because I don’t want to go to moderation purgatory. But it’s almost like you were purposefully ignoring Corbyn during the campaign.

            I mean, do you at least agree that his performance was poor?

            No. The whole remain campaign was “shambolic”.

            • Hahahahah. http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/may/13/jeremy-corbyn-young-voters-eu-referendum

              From what I’ve seen on the Guardian in the last couple of days the problem was Corbyn only went after the youth vote and didn’t try talking to other people.

              Fine, but then we have the fact that youth turn out was crap:

              So, let me follow your logic: He deserves credit for what votes remain did get, but he over focused on youths, and youths didn’t turn out enough to deliver.

              This adds up to doing a good job? What?

              You should talk to MacK because he/she thinks the problem was Corbyn didn’t go beyond where he was comfortable (i.e. the youth and London).

              That’s compatible with what I’m saying.

              I mean, you’re positing 100% of labour voters for remain is the metric of success.

              I defy you to find a single place where I’ve said or implied that. I’ve said several times that it’s entirely possible that he couldn’t have done enough more to get a win. That doesn’t mean his campaign wasn’t incompetent on every front. It was.

              But keep arguing against that straw.

              Anything less than that is evidence of failure.

              Again, nothing I’ve said. I’m basing my judgements on *watching him fucking campaign*. His performance on the stump and in interviews and the timing of his efforts and the fact that there was, afaict, no planning.

              At this point, I’ll wait for you to stop posting disingenuous faux reconstruction of my arguments.

              ETA: Forgot the youth turn out link:


              BTW, youth turn out is a very hard nut to crack. No one has succeeded there with any intent. So yeah, if he over focused there without any serious plan to attempt the known difficult, so much the worse for him.

        • MacK

          Don’t be ridiculous.

          First, Corbyn was on the record as being opposed to the EU for 40 years, as was his wing of the party. If you don’t know that you are remarkably ill-informed.

          Is that what Corbyn should have done? Shared a platform with Cameron Yes he should have, the precious little baby! Sadiq Khan did, Brown did, Blair did, numerous Labour politicians did – but not Corbyn…. it was an asshole move.

          Corbyn did not get 63% of 2015 labor voters to vote remain, he lost 37% because he and his little claque barely tried. They did not visit the north, they did not go much beyond where they were comfortable and yes, the bearded zero refused to appear with Cameron.

        • Murc

          I’m sure Cameron and Osborne would just sit and watch while Corbyn told people how Tory austerity caused all of their problems, not immigrants)?

          … what ability would they have had to STOP him from saying that?

          I’m an generally Corbyn-sympathetic, if for no other reason than I both don’t see it as kosher for a few hundred MP’s to overturn the will of a few million Labour voters less than a year after they expressed it and I also don’t like the idea of a political leaders being subject to rapid-fire takedowns, while also acknowledging that the British political system is not as staid and predictable in this regard as our own and that’s okay.

          But that statement is just foolishness.

          Corbyn has been flailing since he was elected. A great deal of that flailing has not been his fault, as there’s been a constant and shameful low-grade rebellion against him the whole time. But Remain was the one issue on which he could count on full-throated support from every organ of the Labour Party and he stumbled around in a haze the whole time.

          Maybe he really was pro-Brexit, which reflects shockingly bad judgment on his part. In any even, despite Labour turning out in big numbers to vote Remain, he still ran this very badly and people are right to be pissed off at him because of that.

          • efc

            I get it. He didn’t shine his Green Lantern enough. Is that it?

            • Murc

              … no.

              This is so non-responsive to anything I said that it causes me to question your good faith.

              • efc

                Deciding to question motivations. Good move.

                You said Corbyn could have motivated more labour voters to vote remain. He could have done this through his powers of persuasion or something like that. When anyone says that about Obama it’s green lantern politics. Obviously the analogy is not complete, but that seems to be the basic argument. Corbyn could have somehow through the powers of persuasion got more Labour voters to vote remain even, as you admit, he had “Labour turning out in big numbers to vote Remain”.

                You seem to be ascribing some special powers to Corbyn that he for some reason chose not to use.

                I understand you guys are all very upset about the vote. I would have voted remain. But now you are all becoming ridiculous and trying to pin the blame on someone and everyone.

                • Murc

                  You said Corbyn could have motivated more labour voters to vote remain.

                  I did not, actually. It’s probably a true statement, but I didn’t actually say that.

                  He could have done this through his powers of persuasion or something like that. When anyone says that about Obama it’s green lantern politics.

                  No, it isn’t.

                  Has anyone here ever said “Obama doesn’t have the ability to move the electorate around through his powers of persuasion and his political campaigning?” We have not, because it isn’t true. Obama is actually really good at convincing the electorate to do things! He convinced a whole bunch of people who voted for Bush to vote for him, and then vote for him again! An awful lot of that was due to fundamentals, but not all of it.

                  What we say is that Obama can’t make members of Congress do things just by lobbying them real hard. That’s a completely different thing.

                  If Brexit had succeeded as an act of Parliament along strict party-line votes and people were saying “Corbyn could have peeled off enough Tories to defeat it but he didn’t even try” that would be Green Lanternism.

                  But lets leave all that aside.

                  Even if Corbyn’s action had no actual effect on the turnout and the voting (in which case, why was he even campaigning at all?) he still managed this very badly. Labour’s message was muddled at best and incoherent at worst. Corbyn was petulant, angry, and signaled at every turn he was being dragged around against his will and didn’t want to be here. He failed at basic politics a whole bunch of times.

                  That doesn’t pin the blame for Brexit on him. But it’s possible to say “Corbyn’s management of Labour during this campaign was gross political malpractice” without also saying “and so Brexit is his fault.” But “Corbyn’s management during this campaign was gross political malpractice, which is potentially responsible for a couple points of swing, which might have decided things” is a reasonable position to take.

                  Political campaigns do actually matter. That’s why we have them. If they don’t matter one bit, why did the Leave campaign feel it necessary to spend millions on slick lies? Why did Corbyn spend months last year campaigning hard to get people to vote for him? Presumably he thought that that would make people who wouldn’t vote for him otherwise choose to do so, yes? He clearly understands how to run a coherent and effective campaign, he just… choose not to in this event.

                  Unless you’re taking the stance that campaigns never matter, never change anyones mind, and are just totally pointless. Or that Corbyn achieved the maximum result he could. But you don’t seem to be saying either of those things.

                • MacK

                  Good [email protected] I just agreed with Murc again.

                • I did not, actually. It’s probably a true statement, but I didn’t actually say that.

                  Given that etc made up stuff along these lines about me, I’d say that the good faith* question has been settled.

                  * Or a carelessness or interpretive fail on the order of bad faith. It doesn’t really matter.

                  That doesn’t pin the blame for Brexit on him. But it’s possible to say “Corbyn’s management of Labour during this campaign was gross political malpractice” without also saying “and so Brexit is his fault.”

                  I’ve made this point several times to efc. This is my position. They just don’t care about responding to the actual arguments.

          • MacK

            Cornyn’s contradiction of Osborne on the emergency budget was dishonest and very damaging.

            It is beyond obvious that there would have to be an emergency budget, that the underlying economic assumptions on which Ed Balls at least say that. But no, Corbyn refused to say even that, instead wanking away about austerity.

            He could easily has said he would not like the budget, but no question there would have to be one, that tax revenue would plunge and have to be made up somewhere and that it would mean pain for someone.

            • efc

              Project fear was very successful. It would have totally worked if it wasn’t for Corbyn screwing everything up.

              Did the UK bond rate spike upwards? I know it’s early yet, but did you see anything that would indicate the British government would no longer be able to finance spending through borrowing?

              “The rally even extended to UK bonds, despite a warning from ratings agency Standard & Poor’s that it was likely to downgrade Britain’s triple-A credit rating if it left the EU. Yields on benchmark 10-year gilts fell 27 basis points to 1.096 pct.”

              So no, it’s not true “tax revenue would plunge and have to be made up somewhere and that it would mean pain for someone”.

              You are asking Corbyn to accept the Tory story of the economic collapse and non recovery. If Corbyn said there was going to have to be an austerity emergency budget if leave won how is labour supposed to run against austerity in the snap elections?

              • econoclast

                Warnings from ratings agencies mean nothing, and never have any impact on sovereign bond yields. I have no idea why the media even bothers to report them.

      • Bill Murray

        yeah, Corbyn could have got 75, 80% for remain, but he. didn’t. eve. try.

        • efc

          I know. He. Didn’t. Even. Try. Driving. Every. Labour. Voter. To. The. Polls. And. Force. Them. To. Vote. Remain.

          • Both of you are being ridiculous. Exactly no one has argued anything like this, nor anything for which this is a reasonable extrapolation, even as hyperbole. In fact, people like me have explicitly denied that this is what the hell we’re complaining about.

            But yes, if you make up the view you’re critiquing, and make it a silly one, you can defeat it. Now try responding to what people actually wrote.

  • MacK


    The petition for a parliamentary debate – effectively on a re-run of the referendum

    We the undersigned call upon HM Government to implement a rule that if the remain or leave vote is less than 60% based a turnout less than 75% there should be another referendum.

    Is at 1,416,150 – and is garnering 8000 signatures a minute – close to 200,000 per hour the last I checked.

    I do not think that the debate can be avoided – and the longer the Brexiters seek to delay it, the worse it will be as they promises they made become inoperative, the lies revealed and the consequences they said would not happen, happen. The heap of turds to fling in the debate will just grow and grow.

    • Marc

      Why is it acceptable, after-the-fact, to set a threshold of whether an election counts or not that is conveniently above the values that it had?

      • econoclast

        But the election already doesn’t count. The referendum was deliberately set up not to have any legal force. There’s nothing illegitimate arguing for it not to be carried out as-is.

        • Marc

          Then be honest about what you’re doing, as opposed to playing make-believe with what numbers counted.

          • Ronan

            How are people not being “honest”?

          • MacK

            Again, if the petition exceeds 50% of the number who voted in the referendum, I cannot see how they can avoid a rerun.

            • sibusisodan

              If this petition gets that kind of support, I will eat Paddy Ashdown’s hat.

              I can imagine that the percentage of voters who would change their vote now at easily enough to overcome the 4% difference (would love to see some numbers though), but not anywhere in the region of tens of millions.

              • MacK

                Oh it’s over the 4% already – it’s about 1.7 million which is 5-6%

                About 850,000 votes would have flipped the outcome by the way. ½ of the 1.9 million majority. Not a lot – so the difference is ½ the 4% or 2%

              • MacK

                And at 6:22pm on the 25th the petition broke the 2 million mark

      • MacK

        Well a lot of Leave voters are now hearing they were lied to.

        Leave got 17,410,742 – largely by lying like a rug. 50% of the electorate believed the £350 million for the health service.

        So here is the question – if 17,410,742 demand a re-run of the referendum, or even 50% then it should be rerun.

        Inter alia the US constitution had supermajority provisions for amendment it has to be proposed either by the Congress with a two-thirds majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate or by a constitutional convention called for by two-thirds of the State legislatures.

        The vote to leave was very much a vote for a major constitutional change. A supermajority or at least real majority makes sense.

        • Incontinentia Buttocks

          But the US Constitution didn’t set those supermajority requirements ex post facto. Parliament is soveereign and can do whatever it wants. That’s pretty much the only principle of the UK Constitution.

      • Why is it acceptable, after-the-fact, to set a threshold of whether an election counts or not that is conveniently above the values that it had?

        Because it’s a cataclysmic disaster?

        From a procedural position, there’s an argument:

        1) The referendum was set up as an advisory thing. It was left to Parliament to decide how to act on the vote.

        2) Interpreting a solid but pretty close vote wherein one side lied like the dickens as not sufficient to leave is a reasonable view. Heck, interpreting (as Farage wanted) a solid but pretty close vote for Remain is not *unreasonable*.

        This is a stronger point that the fact that “Parliament can do what it likes anyway”. It’s reasonable for an MP to say, “It was close, but for such a decision I want a more decisive victory before making such a monumental decision.”

    • sibusisodan

      So far today we have the Secretary Defence saying we don’t need to rush, the Chief Executive of the Leave campaign saying we should have informal negotiations before invoking Art. 50.

      Johnson & Gove are nowhere to be seen. Osborne too.

      Punting the decision to Parliament is probably looking quite good right now.

      This is farcical.

      • N__B

        I’m thinking that there must be lyrics from Iolanthe that are applicable.

        • Scott P.

          More like Duke of Plaza-Toro.

      • MacK

        Here is one of the reasons I think Corbyn is a precious arse.

        Osborne said there would have to be an emergency austerity budget. Corbyn disagreed.

        I cannot stand Osborne – but hell yes, Brexit will mean a new budget. Corbyn, that gobshite, could at least have had the good sense to say that while he disagreed about what would be in the budget, that it was inescapable that there would have to be an emergency budget and it would not be pretty – Balls at least said something like that.

        • bexley

          Technically Brexit doesn’t mean there has to be an austerity budget. We can just continue and borrow more if needed until the next budget swings round. In future we have 3 choices:

          borrow more;
          tax more; or
          spend less.

          • MacK

            Realistically you can’t avoid one.

            • bexley

              My main point was that you don’t actually need to cut spending following Brexit. And I think that Corbyn shouldn’t have committed to cuts in any emergency budget but rather said we’d need to borrow or tax a lot more.

              That would have avoided giving backing to austerity while still making clear that Brexit would be costly.

  • MacK

    A very interesting problem is beginning to materialise – and I’ll use Michael Gove and Boris Johnson as object examples. Prior to Thursday Gove ran from interview to interview – you could not keep him from a microphone. The great victory – no interviews, a few prepared remarks no questions (we’re British), ditto Johnson. Why?

    Well Hanan and Farage have admitted the £350 million lie and the immigration lie, and Gove said sterling would not drop or the stock market. An interview would be very very awkward – because, well they lied, and they’ll be asked about the lies and a good interviewer will have tapes of interviews and photos of the battlebus.

    To mislead parliament is to present false information to parliament knowingly, a very serious charge in Westminster- Government ministers that are found to have misled parliament will generally lose their ministerial portfolio. Now we have a situation where on the most important constitutional issue for the UK of this century, Gove and Johnson lied – outright, without question, as did Priti Patel and several others. But they expect to form the next government….. think about it. How can they be Prime Minister or hold any other portfolio? No wonder they are hiding.

    • Murc

      To mislead parliament is to present false information to parliament knowingly, a very serious charge in Westminster- Government ministers that are found to have misled parliament will generally lose their ministerial portfolio.

      And that’s a very low bar to clear, too! You can mislead and lie to people while never using a single piece of outright false information; indeed, the very best liars construct massive edifices of falsehood from bricks of truth. You can mislead Parliament all you want as long as you never utter a provable factual flasehood; this happens all the time during Question Time.

      The Brexiters, had they been government ministers, would not have even been able to clear that very low hurdle.

      • MacK

        I’m puzzled by your comment. The Brexiters made categorical statements that are now being admitted as false or proven false. It’s not in the realm of merely misleading in many instances, it is categorial falsehood.

        • Murc

          The point of my comment is that “don’t make categorical statements that are false” is very easy to do while still lying, and they couldn’t fucking manage that. They even fail at basic mendacity.

          • MacK

            I think I agree with you on that

            F*ck was that a flying pig – duck!

          • MacK

            By the way Farage’s line was that was a lie, but I did not say it.

            This was Farage who was accusing everyone on the Remain side of lying, who somehow what, said nothing about what his own side was saying. And by the way, I heard him defend the £350 million number.

          • sibusisodan

            They even fail at basic mendacity.

            Preach, Murc! Very well put indeed.

  • petesh

    Any news on voting by race? I know, I know, we’re all post-racial now, but immigration is not a new issue in the UK. Enoch Powell was ranting about “rivers of blood” back in the 1960s. The post-Empire influx, particularly from the West Indies and Indian subcontinent, was a wonderful thing for British society, in my view, but provoked enormous resentment among a lot of white little-Englanders. They have to accept that many of these reggae-playing, curry-eating immigrants are into the third or even fourth generation and obviously are not going anywhere, but I can’t help thinking that the complaints about Poles and others, who look white but are clearly foreign, is partly based on long-standing resentment of those brown people who came and changed everything.

  • MacK

    Just a detail

    here is a list of petitions by number of signatures https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions

    The next highest number of signatures is around 800,000 – the ReRun is already north of 1.8 million.

  • MacK

    Luckily, some genius on the internet has come up with a guide to the seven stages of Brexit grief you might be going through at this difficult time.

    1. SHOCK – Woah wtf… I’m like totally shocked

    2. DENIAL – It’s not legally binding anyway, right?

    3. ANGER – F–king pensioners! Uneducated tw-ts! Northern racists! Farage!!!

    4. BARGAINING – Sees petition for second referendum on Facebook… signs it

    5. DEPRESSION – F-ck, I’m really stuck on this little island now

    6. TESTING – Googles how to become an Irish citizen

    7. ACCEPTANCE – Ah well, at least it’s Friday, time to get on the lash

    It’s reassuring to know there is an end to this process; a light at the end of the tunnel.

    Oh. Wait.

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