Our Friends In The North

From Marginal Seat 17 December 2018

Who are these people who voted to leave the EU?

Tamara and I went to a talk in Cambridge a few weeks ago at which Andrew (Lord) Adonis and Will Hutton were supposed to speak.

Andrew Adonis couldn’t make it because he had to be in Brussels for a meeting, so Will Hutton spoke alone, and then took questions.

When he was in full flow, he sounded convincing – and why not? He had done the research. He had discovered why those in the North voted Leave.

By’The North’ I refer to the poor bits of Britain.

Hutton is a political economist, Principal of Hertford College, University of Oxford, and an advocate of centre-left policies.

He is also the author together with Andrew Adonis, of the book Saving Britain: How We Must Change to Prosper in Europe.

The ‘We’ is Britain and ‘change’ is what is needed in British Government policy that leaves parts of the country to rot.

Hutton’s research into areas that voted Leave concluded that one couldn’t fault those who voted Leave.

Those in the North are the poorest, with the poorest life expectancy and the worst job prospects.

Since the referendum we have found on that Britain didn’t have, never had, a policy in place to deny benefits to migrants who came without a job.

Under EU rules it could have enforced such a policy.

Other countries in the EU did, but Britain chose not to.

It is as though the British Government invented a stick to beat itself with.

It doesn’t matter though, because we’ve dispelled the myth that EU migrants drain money from Britain.

They do the opposite; they bring in more than they take.

David Lammy MP said in the House of Commons last week

“Around 3.8 million now live in Britain. Over their lifetimes, they pay in £78,000 more than they take out.”

Migrants don’t rob the poor of Britain. Government policy does that. No investment, no jobs, no attempt to make lives easier.

Faced with those facts, and if there is a second referendum – what are those Leave voters likely to do? What would they be right to do? 

Are they just going to say they are fed up because those migrants are here on benefits? 

No, they can’t argue that.

Are they going to complain that immigrants are better qualified? 

Well they often are. That’s a fact.

Are they going to be like the dog in the manger – if they can’t have good jobs then they are going to take us all downhill?

Saving Britain: How We Must Change to Prosper in Europe sets out to show how with different policies Britain can improve the lives of those left behind.

Will those in the North believe that such policies would ever, will ever be put in place?

What if they don’t believe that anything has changed or will change?

What is to stop them being bitter and believing that maybe they can do better in the apocalyptic aftermath of Britain leaving the EU.

Give them hope or lose the vote again.