By Rachel Bridgeland – Jeremy Corbyn is right to urge us to see through the media’s attempts to divide us. The media has encouraged those who voted to Remain see Leave voters as, at worst, a venal mob and at best misguided and stupid enough to think a government under the likes of Boris Johnson or Nigel Farage would be an improvement.
Against the wishes of many Labour MPs who hope to find a way to delegitimise the referendum and remain in the EU, Jeremy Corbyn has given a clear commitment to invoke Clause 50.
Anger did indeed motivate some Leave voters. During membership of the EU the division between rich and poor has increased, with the poorest suffering a fall in living standards. A UCL study has shown that the poorest 20% of British workers have indeed been affected adversely by immigration (1), so it was easy for the Leave campaign to focus discontent on this point instead of giving a voice to constructive and positive reasons people had for wanting to leave. Polling showed that support for UKIP actually fell during the referendum campaign (2).
Lord Ashcroft’s recent poll (3) is considered more accurate than most. A larger number of people than usual were interviewed. Asked which of the following they considered to be forces for good, a considerable proportion of leave voters expressed support for multi-culturalism (29%), social liberalism (32%), globalisation (49%), the green movement (38%), feminism (40%) and even immigration (21%).
About half of the voters, whether leave or remain, felt capitalism was a force for ill rather than a force for good (51%:49%).
This, then, could be the reason why the Parliamentary Labour Party is so keen to get rid of Jeremy Corbyn.
The majority of the population, across all the political parties, want nationalisation of key industries and around half think capitalism is a force for ill. Because of the lack of proportional representation, when there is any choice at all in a constituency it is between three neo-liberal parties, all of which represent the moneyed classes and support free market capitalism.
Lord Ashcroft’s poll found the majority of those who voted to remain believe life is better today than it was for their parents’ generation.