Friday, June 24, 2016

Not-so United Kingdom's anti-Europe vote shows English rural-urban divide that resonates in U.S.

Washington Post map (click on it to view a larger version)
British voters' landmark decision to leave the European Union displayed a rural-urban divide that resonates in the U.S. London, Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to stay, "but outside the capital, every English region had a majority for leave," notes The Guardian.

"The result confirmed polling about high rates of euroscepticism in Labour's former heartlands in the north and in farming areas in eastern England which have seen high numbers of arrivals of migrant workers from eastern Europe," Agence-France Presse reports.

The vote "suggests that we’ve been seriously underestimating Donald Trump’s ability to win the presidential election," James Hohmann writes in "The Daily 202" for The Washington Post. His colleague Dan Balz writes, "Trump’s slogan, ‘Make America Great Again,’ could easily have been adapted to the messaging of those in the ‘leave’ campaign."

Trump endorsed "Brexit," and "The quintessential anti-EU voter, an aging unemployed white working-class citizen in northern England, might feel a certain solidarity with a similar Trump voter in rural America," write Brian Klaas, a fellow in comparative politics at the London School of Economics, and Marcel Dirsus, a lecturer in politics at the University of Kiel in Germany, for the Los Angeles Times. "Both have reason to feel victimized by a global economy that has left them behind. Both have concluded that the culprits are out-of-control immigration and an unresponsive government far away, in Washington or Brussels. And both have decided the answer is disengagement, solving problems alone at home rather than preventing them through cooperation abroad."

Genevieve Hayward
Genevieve Hayward, an Australian-British dual citizen, told the Australian Broadcasting Corp., "I live in an area of England where people are very proud of their Britishness. They are surrounded by breathtaking countryside, cottages that are hundreds of years old, and the area is steeped in tradition and a good dose of a 'can do' attitude. There is a real fear among people in these areas, both young and old, that being a part of the EU is slowly taking away Britain's sovereignty and with it their tradition and values. On top of that, they feel farming and small business would be better off without EU regulations, that there are too many bureaucrats and wasted pennies involved with being a part of the EU, that Britain is perfectly capable of making its own trade deals and that there will be little loss of exports to European countries that have a market for British goods and vice versa."

For UK journalism professor Roy Greenslade's rundown of how British newspapers reported the story this morning, click here.

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