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Archives: Bolton

An elite provincial’s view of Brexit

I voted Remain. But apart from London, Brighton, a few university towns, and the very centres of Manchester and Liverpool, few others did in England and Wales. The young voters couldn’t even be arsed to vote. To try to revisit the vote now would patronise lower class provincials beyond belief and quite probably cause a hideous backlash. The big issues to cause this vote are how immigration and globalisation has hit the provincial lower class.
You don’t have to be a Marxist to see that for nearly forty years now, little surplus value has passed to the workers. Bryan Appleyard’s piece this week in the Sunday Times described how all the spirit has left his home town of what was a vibrant Bolton. And that’s while producing great comedians and actors. It was my Dad’s home town too, and Wanderers will always be my team. It’s a county borough stitched up in a metropolitan county it doesn’t want to be in. All devolution planned by Osborne is to the big Cities. What the referendum has shown writ very large is that is not the identity of most English. They don’t live in cities, villages, or market towns. They still live in county boroughs, impotent since that Philistine Heath abolished them.
I digress. Brexit will do nothing to stop globalisation. I’m not sure that anything can but an economy mixed between public and private sectors can help. A unionised public sector does give rise to comparators the private sector has to emulate.
Immigration is the other big reason for the Leave vote. I often check out the Bolton News web pages. Like many other parts of the country, the wall to wall complaint is the stretch to public services and the problems of education in a multicultural, multilingual town. I don’t doubt that many do hanker for the culture of the past, but you can’t change people’s memories.It appears that the Brexiteers’ plan is to replace European immigration with people from elsewhere in the world, not what the more racially motivated Brexiteers had in mind.
We now need to make the best of a bad job. The Tories shouldn’t elect Boris, who has shafted his colleagues, and knocked everyone else out of the way like he did that poor Japanese kid playing rugby.Labour has to ditch Jezza. I’d suggest Teresa May and Andy Burnham. If Jezza shows the perils of picking a Geography teacher to be a leader, and Roy Hodgson the kindly House Master, at least Teresa is Head Teacher material. And Burnham has a Leigh constituency down the road from Bolton and knows that the cities are not the people.
After that we can hope that other countries in the EU want to move to an associate level that would best suit us.