This forum is about wrong numbers in science, politics and the media. It respects good science and good English.
I came across an interesting survey (of about 12,000 people) by Lord Ashcroft, where he tried to find out more about who voted Leave and Remain in the recent EU Referendum.
The most interesting bit of the survey I thought was this graphic where Ashcroft asked Leave And Remain voters to identify for a series of eight issues whether they regarded the issue as being a 'force for good' or a 'force for ill' in society.
forces for ill and good
The eight issues were: multiculturalism, social liberalism, feminism, the Green movement, globalisation, the internet, capitalism and immigration. The Leave side regarded all the issues except for capitalism as being a 'force for ill' in the range 69% to 81%. The Remain side regarded all the issues except for capitalism and the internet as being a 'force for good' in the range 60% to 79%. I'm not entirely sure what the definition of social liberalism is, but in practice it seems to mean something like advancement of LGBT rights, setting BAME quotas, and generally enforcing political correctness.
This reminds me of one of the favourite talking points of the pub philosophers of England, the idea that everything going on in Britain, and particularly in England, can be explained in terms of people tending to split up into two tribes, the 'cavaliers and roundheads'. In this particular case, the idea actually does look like quite a good description of the situation. The 'cavaliers' would be the Liberal establishment (who voted to remain in the EU), who think multiculturalism, social liberalism, feminism, the Green movement, globalisation and immigration are all forces for good, whereas the 'roundheads' (who voted to leave the EU) think that exactly the same issues are forces for ill.
Roundheads appear to make up a pretty sizeable chunk of the population of the UK, but they are very poorly represented within the UK political class. The left-leaning parties are obviously on the cavalier side, and even the UK Conservative party is on the cavalier side, even more so as a result of David Cameron having led the party for the last ten years. The only political party that currently represents the roundhead position to any great extent is UKIP, but thanks to the first past the post voting system, they have virtually no MPs. UKIP's current solitary MP, the Conservative party defector Douglas Carswell, is probably a cavalier as well in overall terms.
When it comes to our state broadcaster, the supposedly impartial BBC, they are probably as heavily embedded within the cavalier camp as the Lib Dems. It is difficult to think of any roundheads that the BBC employ or have employed, possibly Jeremy Clarkson (who left the BBC in 2015) might be one.
Our future monarch, Prince Charles, is also in the cavalier camp, as expressed by his ill-advised long running public enthusiasm for Greenery and his desire a few years ago to be the "Defender of the Faiths", a multicultural version of being the Defender of the (C of E) Faith.
'Wrong but Wromantic- Right and Repulsive"
Interesting Dave.It did seem that we could make a reasonably accurate
judgement as to how our relatives voted based on their opinions and attitudes to things in general.
What my wife and myself have found most odd is how genuinely upset some of the remain voters were with the result.We're at a loss and cannot begin to work out any explanation?
I must admit to being surprised as well about the reaction of some of the Remain voters to the referendum result. I certainly wouldn't have predicted that there would have been a series of protest marches in the weeks following the result, an example being this news story about one at the beginning of July which includes various photos with acerbic comments by Breitbart:
I was actually quite glad that the Conservative leadership contest (between the final two, Theresa May and Andrea Leadsom) finished prematurely, and that the newly installed Prime Minister Theresa May started implementing plans for Brexit straight away, as otherwise I think these protest marches might have been going on for months.
One interesting view about the hysterical reaction to the result is this article called "The liberal hysteria over Brexit shows exactly why we need to leave":
On the other hand Theresa May is one of the Remain supporters and the political consensus is alive and well in both houses and possibly just biding its time.
The leadership of the party is of key concern to the membership who have been denied a vote - whether by circumstances or trickery.
And while T MY has may some encouraging sounds, action is almost non-existant.
If, as a consequence of our Brexit there are some "red lines" amongst which ought to be an Australian style points system (until we think of something better - democracy allows us to change things as we go) and some action to restrict our welfare system to serving only British citizens, then the negotiations are going to change nothing of our decisions on what we want and is best for us. Therefore there is nothing to stop us, even as members of the EU, from pre-emptively implementing some legislative changes now and putting a stop to any new EU legislation that would automatically be applied. It is just a matter of time, we are told, before we put in pour ARticle 50 letter or repeal the ECA act of 1972.
The worst the EU can do is start infringement proceedings, of which they have an abundance at any time and which, if they work their way through result ina fine which neither France, nor Germany, bother to pay.
ANd of that is all they can do then they might as well no bother because we wont be paying any fines (or ought not to be).
It seems to me the EU still considers us a vassal state until we actually do leave and even then they expect to dictate terms and there is no sign Theresa May will tell them what they can do with their idea that Free Trade depends on open borders. Indeed, the fact that "Ministers are warning" that we need a robust immigration policy suggests that they too have their doubts about Theresa May's intentions.
The motto on such things as immigration or welfare, should be "Action This Day" and it would send a message to the EU that we have realised that we are the ones with the least to worry us over whether we conclude a free trade deal with the EU or not.
But one cannot be sanguine about T. May. Her record (as revealed in the article she had removed from the DT but which can be found online still elsewhere) suggests that even if her motives and intentions were honourable, her abilities are in question.
Out of the remaining two candidates for Conservative party leader in 2016, I preferred Andrea Leadsom myself over Theresa May, as she was on the Leave side in the EU Referendum, and so would therefore be more likely to deliver a Brexit that would be satisfactory to the Leave side.
But the parliamentary Conservative party has shown some awkward behaviour following previous leadership contests where the result has been determined by the party members (there have only been two of these contests where the membership decided who was going to be the leader, one in 2001 and the other in 2005). In the 2001 leadership contest, the party members preferred the more right-wing Iain Duncan Smith (IDS) over the liberal Conservative Ken Clarke, whereas the MPs had preferred Ken Clarke narrowly over IDS (the MP voting was: Ken Clarke 59 votes, IDS 54 votes, Michael Portillo 53 votes). A faction of Conservative MPs then seemed to start plotting against IDS shortly after he took up the post of leader and eventually got rid of him after about two years.
I could see a similar situation possibly occurring with Leadsom if the party members had ended up voting for her as leader. But whereas IDS was only 5 votes behind Ken Clarke amongst the MPs in 2001, Andrea Leadsom was a much greater 115 votes behind Theresa May in 2016, so the Conservative MPs might potentially act even more awkwardly than they did with IDS if Leadsom won. I get the impression that Conservative MPs, or at least some influential liberal-inclined faction amongst them, are nervous about having a right-wing leader - they got rid of IDS in 2003 and also Margaret Thatcher back in 1990. They might have tried to do the same thing with Leadsom and the process of exiting the EU might be compromised.
Having Theresa May as PM is actually far more preferable than what was being seriously suggested in the days just before the referendum vote - a group of 84 Conservative MPs who campaigned for Leave signed up to a letter asking David Cameron to stay on as PM if the result was Leave.
From the point of view of delivering a Brexit that would be satisfactory to the Leave side, I can't think of a worse situation than having Cameron and his friends left in charge of it.
Theresa May has been criticised for not doing anything about the Conservative 2015 general election manifesto commitment to reduce net migration to the level of tens of thousands in her capacity as Home Secretary. But my view of that commitment is that Cameron would have been expecting to form another coalition government or alliance arrangement with the Lib Dems in 2015 (his most likely prospect of further government according to the opinion pollsters at the time), and the Lib Dems would then throw out the proposed net migration limit, along with the commitment to hold an EU Referendum.
I don't think there is any particular reason to be worried about how Brexit is going at the moment. However if "Article 50" hasn't been triggered by say Spring 2017, then it might be time to start getting a bit nervous.