Allan Little is Looking for Brexitland

In his search for Brexitland, Little visits Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, Wigan, Manchester, Oldham, and Motherwell.

Southampton, Little says, is not a deprived area yet voted Leave. In Southampton, Little says,  'there is a "something will turn up" self-confidence', which Little credits for the Leave vote.

In Stoke-on-Trent, which is a deprived area, Little does not find ‘self confidence’, but ‘pride’. In Stoke-on-Trent, Little finds ‘a fierce civic pride in the character and tradition of the city.'

Little credits ‘civic pride’ as the motivating factor behind the success of Leave vote. However, he does mention the loss of industries in the area. Little says that Stoke-on-Trent was built on ‘pots, pits, and steel'. Now, coal and steel are history, potteries reduced. But, despite that Little notices that 'pride' again: 'Stoke-on-Trent, like much of industrial England, is a place that takes pride in the worth and virtue of honest work.'

Little does not mention that Bet365 is the biggest employer in the city.

Little implies that ‘pride’, ‘self-confidence’, played an important role. This, I think, is one, among many, of the non-falsifiable statements (read pseudo-explanatory statements) that keeps repeating in the media about Leavers. Little does, however, discuss important political changes in Stoke-on-Trent. The loss of unions, the loss and reduction of working class MPs.

Little visits Oldham. He tells the historical importance of Oldham: ‘Oldham is still dominated by the vast red-brick textile mills that once exported across the globe and made this one of the great industrial centres of the North.’ Once again, the implication being that the image of Oldham is a daily reminder to its residents of a glorious past. Little says that now 'one of the great industrial centres of the North' is 'hit hardest by the decline of industry'.

Here, Little misses a very important opportunity to describe, in detail, the implications of 'hit hardest by the decline of industry'. Little does not mention areas like Coldhurst, where 6 in 10 children grow up in poverty.

In Motherwell, Scotland, Little says that if Scotland has to follow the decision which it did not choose, there is 'price to pay', by that Little implies that the Union might end.

Through his travels, and in his search for Brexitland, Little does not find any new answers. He reinforces the views that are repeated daily, weekly, on numerous shows. However, Little makes one correct suggestion: 'Whatever emerges in the years that lie ahead, the UK has some work to do in repairing its democracy...'. But, even here, he reduces ‘democracy’ to ‘restoring trust between the institutions of political power and the governed'

Democracy is not just about repairing trust. But, it is about repairing the economy, repairing the social contract, creating a society that protects the marginalised, that supports the victims, and helps the afflicted.

Link: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-sh/looking_for_brexitland