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Sun Jun 12, 2016, 05:17 AM

Working-class Britons feel Brexity and betrayed

If Britain crashes out of the European Union in two weeks, it will be off the back of votes cast by discontented working-class people. When Andy Burnham warns that the remain campaign has “been far too much Hampstead and not enough Hull”, he has a point. Even Labour MPs who nervously predict remain will scrape it nationally report their own constituencies will vote for exit. Polling consistently illustrates that the lower down the social ladder you are, the more likely you are to opt for leave. Of those voters YouGov deems middle-class, 52% are voting for remain, and just 32% for leave. Among those classified as working-class, the figures are almost the reverse: 36% for remain, 50% for leave. The people Labour were founded to represent are the most likely to want Britain to abandon the European Union.

When presented with a vote on the status quo, it is no surprise that those with the least stake in it vote to abandon it. The same happened in Scotland’s independence referendum. Threats of economic Armageddon resonate little with people living in communities that feel ignored, marginalised and belittled. “Economic insecurity beckons!” people who live in perpetual economic insecurity are told. A Conservative prime minister lines up with pillars of Britain’s establishment with a message of doom – and it makes millions of people even more determined to stick their fingers up at it.

The leave campaign knows all this. It is Trumpism in full pomp: powerful vested interests whose policies would only concentrate wealth and power even further in the hands of the few, masquerading as the praetorian guard of an anti-establishment insurgency dripping in anti-immigration sentiment. It is political trickery long honed by Ukip, a party led by a privately educated ex-City broker that claims to be the voice of the little guy against a self-interested powerful clique. If Donald Trump succeeds across the Atlantic, the terrible cost of leaving millions of working-class people feeling both abandoned and slighted will be nightmarishly clear. The same goes for this referendum...

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jun/10/working-class-britain-brexity-betrayed-labour-vote-leave

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