Friday, 29 July 2016
Too much or too little change?
I was listening to David Aaronovitch's programme about how remainers feel now, broadcast on Radio 4 last night. After a range of interviews, there was a discussion with a couple of people in the studio. One of the questions asked was whether they thought that the same result would have happened in 10 or 15 years time. As Aaronovitch pointed out it's not as obvious an outcome as you might think. The typical reaction might be 'No, because many of the older voters will have died off, so the younger voters, weighted to remain would triumph.' But, of course, it's entirely possible that as younger voters got older they might change their mind - and in 10 to 15 years, the EU might be in such a mess that withdrawing would be even more popular.
However, the paradox arose in a comment analysing why older voters might be more in favour of leaving the EU, which was put down to their being more uncomfortable with change, and so less happy about the way the UK is changing as a result of being in the EU. There could, indeed, be some truth in this. But here's the thing. Leaving the EU is change. A vote for remain was actually a vote to avoid change. Bizarrely, the argument seems to be that apparently in order to move away for change, leavers voted for change. I suspect the driver was not so much a fear of change (the classic metropolitan elite view of what happened) as a desire for change. Whether or not that change is a good thing is an entirely different issue - but change we certainly got. (Unless we're a Labour party leader, of course.)