UK polarised by city/region on EU, immigration and foreign policy
Against the backdrop of the UK voting to leave the EU, I’ve spent the last few hours poring over various UK Government petition maps, and the results are sobering.
TL;DR — London, Oxford, Cambridge, Brighton, and Bristol (and maybe Manchester) think very differently to the rest of the UK in terms of immigration and foreign policy.
“Left wing” viewpoints tend to attract many, many signatures from these places, whereas “right wing” or more isolationist viewpoints tend to attract many more signatures from the regions or other cities.
And in both cases, it seems that the cities and the regions will almost always vote the opposite way.
Look at the following maps, and see how the cities above are effectively the inverse colour of the rest of the UK…
Here are some “left wing” petitions:
- EU Referendum Rules triggering a 2nd EU Referendum
- Accept more asylum seekers and increase support for refugee migrants in the UK
Here are some “right wing” petitions:
- Stop allowing immigrants into the UK
- Stop spending a fixed 0.7 per cent slice of our national wealth on Foreign Aid
To compare to other maps that may neither be left nor right, here are some others:
What could be the possible reasons for this?
- education / university towns
- cultural mix
- levels of immigration
- levels of community cohesion
- population density
- funding / austerity / cuts
- pace of change
But the bottom line, for me, is clear. It’s all very well to be a city dweller, outward looking, generous and inclusive, but to pretend that there aren’t problems for those who don’t share your day-to-day experience is not only foolish, but arrogant in the extreme.
There are clearly issues that people feel very strongly about, which unfortunately the blunt tool of a referendum was unable to tell us.
It’s like being asked “Would you die in a fire, or drown? You can only answer one, and you have to answer, or else your vote won’t count”.
Whether we get some crazy opportunity to go back in, or we stay out, these are the questions that are going to need to be tackled, and saying people are wrong, short-sighted or bigoted unfortunately is not going to help us move forward.