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<nettime> John Harris: 'If you've got money, you vote in ... if you have
Patrice Riemens on Sun, 26 Jun 2016 03:41:51 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> John Harris: 'If you've got money, you vote in ... if you haven't got


Most of what is written here on the situation in the UK awaking from the 
morning after Brexit, applies mutatis mutandis to the rest of the 
Europe. The powers that be in the EU can now take the momentous English 
that became British vote as the golden opportunity to come to their 
senses and start serving the needs of the population at large for real. 
If they don't (and, sorry, I'm afraid they won't) it simply will be the 
end of Europe as we know it, after a more or less protracted spell of 
what Yanis Varoufakis so splendidly dubs "Extend and Pretend". Greece 
will be, again, probably the first country to fall off, and will 
probably be pushed out in desperation. "Ah well, we can live without 
Greece" - yeah, just as you can live with a quarter of your brain 
removed. The Netherlands, and possibly France will be the next to go, 
amidst law and order problems not yet seen in Europe since the war. And 
it will not be the people against the police, or only partially so, but 
different strata of the population going at each others' throats, the 
kind of situation that is beyond control. But that is all future worry. 
Now, we may best fight for the best, and prepare for the worst.

So 'Glad Midsommar!' (and beyond) to you all!

from Skåne Province (S. Sweden), patrizio & Diiiinooos!


................................


original to: 
http://www.theguardian.com/politics/commentisfree/2016/jun/24/divided-britain-brexit-money-class-inequality-westminster

'If you've got money, you vote in ... if you haven't got money, you vote 
out'

Brexit is about more than the EU: it’s about class, inequality, and 
voters feeling excluded from politics. So how do we even begin to put 
Britain the right way up?

By John Harris ,Friday 24 June 2016 18.01 BST


“If you’ve got money, you vote in,” she said, with a bracing certainty. 
“If you haven’t got money, you vote out.” We were in Collyhurst, the 
hard-pressed neighbourhood on the northern edge of Manchester city 
centre last Wednesday, and I had yet to find a remain voter. The woman I 
was talking to spoke of the lack of a local park, or playground, and her 
sense that all the good stuff went to the regenerated wonderland of big 
city Manchester, 10 minutes down the road.
EU referendum full results – find out how your area voted
Read more

Only an hour earlier, I had been in Manchester at a graduate recruitment 
fair, where nine out of 10 of our interviewees were supporting remain, 
and some voices spoke about leave voters with a cold superiority. “In 
the end, this is the 21st century,” said one twentysomething. “Get with 
it.” Not for the first time, the atmosphere around the referendum had 
the sulphurous whiff not just of inequality, but a kind of misshapen 
class war.

And now here we are, with that terrifying decision to leave. Most things 
in the political foreground are finished, aren’t they? Cameron and 
Osborne. The Labour party as we know it, now revealed once again as a 
walking ghost, whose writ no longer reaches its supposed heartlands. 
Scotland – which at the time of writing had voted to stay in the EU by 
62% to 38% – is already independent in most essential political and 
cultural terms, and will presumably soon be decisively on its way.

Sinn Féin is claiming that the British government “has forfeited any 
mandate to represent the economic or political interests of people in 
Northern Ireland”. These are seismic things to happen in peacetime, and 
this is surely as dramatic a moment for the United Kingdom as – when? 
The postwar datelines rattle through one’s mind – 1979, 1997, 2010 – and 
come nowhere near.
There is a way Brexiters could really hand back control to voters

Because, of course, this is about so much more than the European Union. 
It is about class, and inequality, and a politics now so 
professionalised that it has left most people staring at the rituals of 
Westminster with a mixture of anger and bafflement. Tangled up in the 
moment are howling political failures that only compounded that problem: 
Iraq, the MPs’ expenses scandal, the way that Cameron’s flip from big 
society niceness to hard-faced austerity compounded all the cliches 
about people you cannot trust, answerable only to themselves (something 
that applied equally to the first victims of our new politics, the 
Liberal Democrats).

Most of all, Brexit is the consequence of the economic bargain struck in 
the early 1980s, whereby we waved goodbye to the security and 
certainties of the postwar settlement, and were given instead an 
economic model that has just about served the most populous parts of the 
country, while leaving too much of the rest to anxiously decline. Look 
at the map of those results, and that huge island of “in” voting in 
London and the south-east; or those jaw-dropping vote-shares for remain 
in the centre of the capital: 69% in Tory Kensington and Chelsea; 75% in 
Camden; 78% in Hackney, contrasted with comparable shares for leave in 
such places as Great Yarmouth (71%), Castle Point in Essex (73%), and 
Redcar and Cleveland (66%). Here is a country so imbalanced it has 
effectively fallen over.
Great Yarmouth pleasure beach

For six years now, often with my colleague John Domokos, I have been 
travelling around the UK for our video series Anywhere But Westminster, 
ostensibly covering politics, but really trying to divine the national 
mood, if such a thing exists. I look back, and find all sorts of 
auguries of what has just happened. As an early warning, there was the 
temporary arrival of the British National party in electoral politics 
from 2006 onwards, playing on mounting popular anger about immigration 
from the EU “accession states”, in the midst of Gordon Brown’s 
“flexible” job market, and a mounting housing crisis.

A few years later, we met builders in South Shields who told us that 
their hourly rate had come down by £3 thanks to new arrivals from 
eastern Europe; the mother in Stourbridge who wanted a new school for 
“our kids”; the former docker in Liverpool who looked at rows of empty 
warehouses and exclaimed, “Where’s the work?”
Brexit brought democracy back – now we need to start listening to each 
other

In Peterborough in 2013, we found a town riven by cold resentments, 
where people claimed agencies would only hire non-UK nationals who would 
work insane shifts for risible rates; in the Ukip heartlands of 
Lincolnshire, we chronicled communities built around agricultural work 
and food processing that were cleanly divided in two, between optimistic 
new arrivals and resentful, miserable locals – where Nigel Farage could 
pitch up and do back-to-back public meetings to rapturous crowds. Even 
in the cities that were meant to unanimously spurn the very idea of 
Brexit, things have always been complicated. Manchester was split 60:40 
in favour of remain; in Birmingham last week, I met British-Asian people 
who talked about leaving the EU with a similar passion and frustration 
to plenty of white people on the same side.

In so many places, there has long been the same mixture of deep worry 
and often seething anger. Only rarely has it tipped into outright hate 
(on that score, I recall Southway in Plymouth, and loud Islamophobia 
echoing around a forlorn shopping precinct; or the women in Merthyr 
Tydfil doing laps of the town centre bellowing, “Get ’em out!” ), but it 
still seems to represent a new turn in the national condition. “The 
gentleness of the English civilisation is perhaps its most marked 
characteristic. You notice it the instant you set foot on English soil,” 
wrote George Orwell in 1941. Not now, surely?

What defines these furies is often clear enough: a terrible shortage of 
homes, an impossibly precarious job market, a too-often overlooked sense 
that men (and men are particularly relevant here) who would once have 
been certain in their identity as miners, or steelworkers, now feel 
demeaned and ignored. The attempts of mainstream politics to still the 
anger have probably only made it worse: oily tributes to “hardworking 
families”, or the the fingers-down-a-blackboard trope of “social 
mobility”, with its suggestion that the only thing Westminster can offer 
working-class people is a specious chance of not being working class 
anymore.

And all the time, the story that has now reached such a spectacular 
denouement has been bubbling a way. Last year, 3.8 million people voted 
for Ukip. The Labour party’s vote is in a state of seemingly unstoppable 
decline as its membership becomes ever-more metropolitan and middle 
class, problems the ascendancy of Jeremy Corbyn has seemingly made 
worse. Indeed, if the story of the last few months is of politicians who 
know far too little of their own supposed “core” voters, the Labour 
leader might be seen as that problem incarnate. The trade unions are 
nowhere to be seen, and the Thatcher-era ability of Conservatism to 
speak powerfully to working-class aspiration has been mislaid. In short, 
England and Wales were characterised by an ever-growing vacuum, until 
David Cameron – now surely revealed as the most disastrous holder of the 
office in our democratic history – made the decision that might turn out 
to have utterly changed the terms of our politics.

The prime minister evidently thought that the whole debate could be 
cleanly started and finished in a matter of months. His Eton 
contemporary Boris Johnson – and, really, can you believe that the 
political story of the last four months has effectively been a 
catastrophic contest between two people who went to the same exclusive 
school? – opportunistically embraced the cause of Brexit in much the 
same spirit. What they had not figured out was that a diffuse, 
scattershot popular anger had not yet decisively found a powerful enough 
outlet, but that the staging of a referendum and the cohering of the 
leave cause would deliver exactly that. Ukip were held back by both the 
first-past-the-post electoral system, and the polarising qualities of 
Farage, but the coalition for Brexit effectively neutralised both. And 
so it came to pass: the cause of leaving the EU, for so long the 
preserve of cranks and chancers, attracted a share of the popular vote 
for which any modern political party would give its eye teeth.

Of course, most of the media, which is largely now part of the same 
detached London entity that great English patriot William Cobbett called 
“the thing”, failed to see this coming. Their world is one of photo ops, 
the great non-event that is PMQs, and absurd debates between figures 
that the public no longer cares about. The alienation of the people 
charged with documenting the national mood from the people who actually 
define it is one of the ruptures that has led to this moment: certainly, 
wherever I go, the press and television are the focus of as much 
resentment as politics. While we are on the subject, it is also time we 
set aside the dismal science of opinion polling, which should surely now 
stick to product testing and the like. Understanding of the country at 
large has for too long been framed in percentages and leading questions: 
it is time people went into the country, and simply listened.

We all know the cruel irony that sits in the midst of all this story: 
that Britain – or what is left of it – will now take a sharp turn to the 
right, and the problems that have fed into this moment will only get 
worse. Well, there we are. History is rarely logical; until it really 
bites them, a lot of people will probably be more supportive of the kind 
of super-Thatcherism we may well be subjected to than a lot of other 
people would like. More to the point, if England and Wales have taken a 
drastic turn towards uncertainty and dysfunction, it will not be the 
first time. It is a difficult point to make at a moment like this, but 
politics will – must – go on. If we fear not just what this decision 
means for our country but how much it says about Britain’s underlying 
social condition, we will have to fight. But first, we will have to 
think, probably more deeply than ever.

Orwell wrote his masterful text The Lion and the Unicorn when Europe was 
tearing itself apart, and the UK’s isolation was more a matter of 
righteous principle than political chaos. England, he said, “resembles a 
family, a rather stuffy Victorian family, with not many black sheep in 
it but with all its cupboards bursting with skeletons. It has rich 
relations who have to be kowtowed to and poor relations who are horribly 
sat upon, and there is a deep conspiracy of silence about the source of 
the family income.”

With the under-25s having so obviously supported one side, and older 
people the other, the next line is prescient beyond words: “It is a 
family in which the young are generally thwarted and most of the power 
is in the hands of irresponsible uncles and bedridden aunts.” And his 
last line is just as good: “A family with the wrong members in control – 
that, perhaps, is as near as one can come to describing England in a 
phrase.”

With Farage crowing and Johnson and Gove exultant, those words take on a 
whole new power. And for those of us who woke to the most awful news 
imaginable, they imply a question we should probably have been asking 
long before this happened: how do we even begin to put England – and 
Wales – the right way up? Think about that woman in Collyhurst: “If 
you’ve got no money, you vote out.” Therein lies not just the 
against-the-odds triumph of the leavers, but evidence of huge failures 
that the stunned mainstream of politics has only just begun to 
acknowledge, let alone do anything about.

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