Sunday, June 26, 2016

Annals of Derp: McMegan, afterthoughts

Commenter StringOnAStick writes, in response to yesterday's Twitter battle,
Having recently gone through their own stay or leave (the UK) drama, I suspect the Scots have already put a good deal of thought into the economic issues at hand. Well, certainly more than the various anecdata stories of Leavers who now say they "just wanted to send a message, not actually leave".
It seems most Brexit postmortems are fixated on immigration (bad economy? Blame furriners!) and nationalism, because admitting that austerity has caused the lower classes significant pain would rather give the game away regarding the ongoing wealth transfer to the elites, no? Plus those most economically wounded might stop voting for the bastards doing the wounding if they didn't think flag waving solves everything.
It's amazing McArdle thought Scotland might have gone through the whole independence campaign in 2014 without anybody ever thinking of the points she "raises". She's really remarkably stupid sometimes.

In last week's vote, the economic arguments were easily available but the Leave campaigners told the voters not to pay any attention. That fool the justice secretary, Michael Gove, literally said "people in this country have had enough of experts". Of course McArdle feeds into this kind of talk when she makes her remarks about "elites", except when she's congratulating herself on her own elite status, in which case it's a good thing, which Susan has covered amply.

The postmortems have a point, in that the English and Welsh voters, or the older ones anyway, really seem to have no idea what they're voting about. They believe immigration is "the" problem, thanks to native racism and nativist propaganda (they were told, falsely, that Turkey was about to be admitted into the EU and Britain would immediately be overrun by Turkish migrants who would steal their jobs and live on the dole simultaneously, and they believed it), and voted accordingly.

I think it's probably false that Leave voters had lower incomes. The assertion isn't based on a US-style exit poll, but on the demographics of different districts: districts with a relatively older population voted Leave, and so did districts with a lower overall median income. In the case of the first it's reasonable to argue that the Leave voters were older, but in the second you have to consider effects of differential turnout.

I'm guessing the Leave vote was like the Trump vote in the US, in lower-income districts but among higher-income individuals in those districts, while lower-income individuals were as a group more likely to not vote at all. If only because younger people (known to have voted to Remain) have lower incomes than older ones.

Younger voters have very clear concepts of austerity (especially reduced educational opportunities alongside more fees for education), and they know UK austerity doesn't come from the EU (Greece and Spain are a different matter, though even there I don't like blaming EU for the wickedness of the autonomous European Monetary Union). Older voters in England and Wales (the Scottish ones are really a lot smarter, there's no way around that) aren't so badly off, though their grownup kids are. Like our Trump voters, they're really not even the ones who are suffering.

This is borne out by the analysis from the Telegraph:
It was thought that this unique vote - and the "ordinary bloke" appeal of stockbroker turned politician Nigel Farage - could drag poorer voters to the poll booth who wouldn't usually vote.
They were expected to back Leave in high numbers, so their rare votes would have tilted the result towards Brexit.
Our analysis also shows how this probably wasn't as important as the older voters turning up - as usual, the more working class people there were in any given voting area, the lower the turnout.
I love the idea of how the "ordinary bloke" would naturally gravitate toward a stockbroker. Anyhow, it's clear that the Brexit vote wasn't so much a working class vote at all. As with Trump in the Republican party, it was a resentful and stupid petit-bourgeois vote on the part of people who think they're immensely clever and are, as ever, wrong.

On the train to the Internationales Bierfest on Karl-Marx-Allee in Berlin last year, we fell in for a few minutes with a Very White Boy, an English kid, headed in the same direction, spending his August hols from some crappy dead-end supermarket job with a Eurailpass visiting various noteworthy European beer cities. If you are thinking "soccer hooligan" think again, this was absolutely the sweetest English kid you'd ever want to meet. He'd have very much liked some wider educational opportunities than he had—no chance of university, of course, and UK isn't very good for apprenticeships—but he wasn't a whinger. He was very pleased just to have a week or so to bop around the Continent tasting the beer and making many new friends from other countries. Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage were actively working to make his life considerably worse than, through the fault of the English ruling class, it already is. (Not that it isn't worse still in the States...)

No comments:

Post a Comment