[Marxism] Fwd: Brexit was fueled by irrational xenophobia, not realeconomic grievances - Vox

marinercarpentry at gmail.com marinercarpentry at gmail.com
Thu Jun 30 16:56:10 MDT 2016


Boston, Lincolnshire returned the highest leave vote per capita in the uk: http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-7639

Boston has one of the highest rates of inward immigration per capita in the uk:
http://www.bostontarget.co.uk/latest-immigration-figures-shock-lincolnshire/story-27694094-detail/story.html

Immigration in Boston has lowered wages and made housing less affordable:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-36258541

This is borne out nationally in a new report by the Bank of England:
http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/research/Documents/workingpapers/2015/swp574.pdf

I have no interest in endorsing these arguments; my point is that regardless of whether or not they are accurate in terms of wage pressure - and one can easily find studies and articles that disagree - they would still fail to satisfactorily account for the EU referendum result as a whole. For example, there are many places in the North and North West with high immigrant populations (Bradford West for example) that voted to leave:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-36616673

The author of the Vox article makes an apriori assumption about voter motivation and then superimposes it on 17.4 million people. This is not to deny immigration wasn’t a major factor in the debate. It was. But if it explained everything, as the Vox article would contend, then surely we would have seen a similar number vote ukip at the general election for example. Instead, less than a quarter of that number did so. My point is that rather than dichotomising the economy and immigration, as much of the commentary has in line with the notion Remain campaigned on the former and Leave on the latter, Marxists in particular should at least make a stab at understanding their multivalent interconnections. Better articles, including many from the Guardian (the EUs biggest cheerleader), at least have managed to do so (the first link is to a Paul Mason piece): 

https://medium.com/mosquito-ridge/what-drove-brexit-osbornomics-9ab448e54bb9#.56s17a71f

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/jun/26/brexit-is-the-rejection-of-globalisation

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/jun/28/the-privilege-of-the-elite-fuelled-the-anger-of-the-leave-voters

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jun/30/brexit-disaster-decades-in-the-making

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jun/29/key-lesson-of-brexit-globalisation-must-work-for-all-of-britain

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2016/jun/30/labour-is-partly-to-blame-for-the-racists-capture-of-the-eu-debate

Another point of interest, that I can’t now find the figures for, is that of the four or five boroughs in London that voted Leave (against the tide) perfectly maps onto those places where people are at most risk of eviction. Finally, this article responds well to the problems with the lazy Vox article and those similar:

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/06/28/the-neoliberal-prison-brexit-hysteria-and-the-liberal-mind/



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From: Louis Proyect via Marxism
Sent: 30 June 2016 19:11
To: jamie pitman
Subject: [Marxism] Fwd: Brexit was fueled by irrational xenophobia, not realeconomic grievances - Vox

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That’s not the only reason to believe Brexit was about xenophobia.

Torsten Bell, director of the UK economic think tank Resolution 
Foundation, set out to test the hypothesis that "areas hardest hit by 
the financial crisis, or those where migration is said to have held down 
wages, voted heavily to leave."

In other words, he tested the exact argument the pro-Leave camp is 
making: that people who voted to leave made a rational decision based on 
the real economic effects they’ve suffered from the rise in immigration. 
If that were the case, you’d expect places that have gotten poorer in 
the past decade (when mass migration took off) would have been the 
places that voted most heavily to leave the EU.

But that’s not what Bell found. In fact, he found no correlation at all 
between areas where wages have fallen since 2002 and the share of votes 
for Leave in the referendum

full: 
http://www.vox.com/2016/6/25/12029786/brexit-uk-eu-immigration-xenophobia
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