24 Jun 2016

A confession

Today the people of Britain have woken up in two different countries. The Metropolitan folk who have prospered here and there down the years have failed to engage with or understand the other country that is also Britain. For here deep alienation exists in huge quadrants of our society that have suffered the true consequences of austerity and cuts.


For many this WAS a vote about Europe, but for as many it was a vote about dispossession amid constant images of largesse and greed. For them we have failed to represent the true costs of policies that ensure that economic recovery is somehow, of necessity, underpinned by a tightening of their belts.

They are the many who have never had a pay rise in a decade. They are the many who have been forced to  tighten their belts amid cuts in benefits upon which they depend, and who have suffered a severe reduction in many of the services that we the Metropolitan folk can remedy by purchasing.

Worse there has been a failure to recognise the feelings of these self-same communities who feel they are being “swamped” by immigrants who would work for less, and yet have access to the very services that are already in ever shorter supply. Easy pickings for politicians determined to blame Europe for all Britain’s failings.

If the UK is allowed to end this day thinking that it was only about Europe, we shall never address the true scale of alienation in which we live. This is a wake-up call – calling upon us to reach out to towns like Barnsley in Yorkshire, Boston in Lincolnshire and great tracts of Wales in the west, and many other places and sections of society.

The woeful campaigns by both Leave  and Remain have allowed us to blame the ‘other’ without ever looking at ourselves. Race, religion, class and more have all played their part in the most unpleasant domestic political campaign most of us have ever witnessed.

The referendum challenges us to render our democratic institutions more truly representative of and responsive to who we are and the lives we lead.

This must become a day for renewal. Let negotiations with Europe take their course, they will not resolve the crisis at the heart of our own society. A government enjoying 36.9 per cent of a General Election vote has to begin accept that it governs for us all, whatever our condition or our politics.

Dangerous choices lie ahead. We can survive them and prosper if we begin to understand and act upon what this referendum has told us. Act now to reverse the consequences of austerity and cuts. We can only prosper if we all share the burden of bringing us all through to a fairer and more egalitarian future.

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92 reader comments

  1. Ignacio says:

    What a deceiving commentary. The leave and remain campaigns treated alike, as if one had not manipulated more than the other. And a purely self centred comment. Nothing about what Europe means, what the EU has done, what awaits us all -Britons and Europeans- from now on. I guess that is the problem: you don’t care too much. And in a way this is consistent with the result. I admired Jon Snow. But he is just one more.

  2. Jim Partridge says:

    Well said John… that was my conclusion too… we left half the country behind.

    We have to fix this!

  3. Andy says:

    Brussels in shock..no contingecies in place for Brexit…kinda reassuring that. Maybe the British people have done the right thing

    1. Bruce says:

      The ones in shock with no contingency are Messrs. Johnson & Gove. I too am kinda reassured – as it offers a possible way forward: Once the new Tory brexit Emperors are exposed as having no clothes & forced to admit they can’t deliver on impossible promises we can perhaps start to fix this mess.

  4. Robert Hughes says:

    I can’t understand how voting for Brexit along with Farage, Boris & Gove is going to resolve these issues. This is taking us deeper into right wing Tory territory in my view.

    1. Bruce says:

      Suspect worse will now happen. Boris & possibly Gove are finished (see link). Brexit government leader will be forced to admit impossible promises cannot be delivered – no confidence will trigger general election. Angry Leavers will vote in droves for UKIP/worse


    2. Bruce says:

      The rift is laid bare; Cameron’s gamble has unleashed dark forces. Blair just took us to war with Iraq, Cameron has taken us to war with ourselves.

  5. Rod Gray says:

    Pretty well sums it up
    Pay and services going down, complaints about immigration ignored
    Westminster and Brussels in their own tax free bubbles
    Austerity budgets showing no signs of reducing deficits
    Yet still signs from inside the bubbles that “we” have voted wrongly
    Will they ever listen rather than saying they must explain their (wrong) policies better?

  6. Joy Goodenough says:

    Thank you Jon for making me a little less ashamed of my generation voting pattern. I join you in your call for renewal that is inclusive, truly democratic, and not based purely on self interest

  7. Richard Upton says:

    Surely this is the time for a completely new political party and politics in general. Although I am scared to my back bone about exit, this is the true opportunity to lead the world in a democracy that is truly progressive and yet is a global player too.

    1. Harry Lyon says:

      Why a new party Richard? In America they make do with two. We have Labour and LibDems and who knows the difference? They should get together and be much stronger in defence of ordinary people!

  8. Stephen Lagrue says:

    I’m not ‘Metropolitan’ and I went four years without a pay rise, every month is a struggle to pay all the bills but O still recognise that we as a country would be safer, stronger and better off in Europe!

    1. margo jackson says:

      Tell that to the Greeks battling the austerity and cuts imposed upon them by the EU!

  9. Ron Paterson says:

    I think the saddest thing about the referendum is what it has revealed about the state of our democracy. If I thought the winning majority had taken an informed decision I would have accepted the result, but instead both sides obviously hoped that the electorate should take a misinformed decision based on their own disingenuous propaganda. Dishonesty and deviousness may be rewarded with election success, but at the expense of increasing the public’s contempt for politicians, which ultimately destroys the democratic process.

  10. Vanessa Smith says:

    As someone born into 1950’s lower working class, and now one of the much maligned long term sick, I can tell you this. Nearly all of the friends and neighbours I know who voted Leave did it with absolutely no understanding of what the EU was about. They voted Leave because of cuts to their sickness benefits, because they believed millions of refugees were marching towards us, because they thought we needed to leave the EU to save the NHS. I am sickened by the lies and propaganda that many people have believed in and voted for. I am just as angry at the ‘remain’ camp as they were so involved in squabbling with the Brexit camp they never spoke to people in clear terms about what the EU is and has done for us, and what it doesn’t do. Saddest of all is the fact that it is those poor people that voted to leave who will, as always, be the hardest hit. I feel too sick to contemplate the possibilities of the next decade – when people like Trump, Putin, Le Pen etc support or congratulate us on Brexit you know there are dark possibilities arising.

  11. David N Cashmore says:

    A sound article by one of the countries most respected journalists. Thank you John.

  12. Sue U says:

    Very true Jon, what happens both in negotiations with Brussels now and within our own politics will determine whether Brexit will be good for the UK or not. If negotiations are conducted by out of touch politicians who understood so little of how most voters felt that they didn’t see this coming then we are headed for a bad deal.

    We need competent people who have worked in businesses of all sizes and know how to leverage our assets to get us the best deal not incompetent politicians or civil servants who will bow to every EU demand.

    We also need fresh faces in government who realise how to move the country forward and unite us again by creating growth for all not a few. The EU made it easy for career politicians to come in and coast the job as they had to follow Europe and their party whip – now we need some thinkers and do’ers who take responsibility and can make good decisions that help the UK. Cameron has rightly gone, Osborne should follow – if they believed this result would be so terrible for us they should never have pledged the referendum. Osborne has had too many shambolic budgets and it seems was too arrogant to consider and therefore plan for the Brexit option. A competent politician would have a contingency plan in place.

  13. Azam says:

    You have it spot on again Jon. Before the conservatives came into power, the UK was already pulling out of a global recession with good growth and forecasted future growth. That all went into turmoil with the austerity measures of the current government, along with their self inflicted recessions. Their infighting over Europe, which led to this referendum and a split vote, will not resolve the real issue of austerity for many people across the country. Depending on how the markets go, it could even make it worse.

  14. Mo says:

    And you, Jon, contributed to this feeling of not being listened to or represented by how you and your colleagues slanted, interpreted, and changed happenings to your personal template before reporting them as news. Further, your personal preferences and beliefs on race, religion, culture, and ‘fairness’ are so far away from ours that you still have reinterpreted the vote to leave the EU as the rest of us not understanding and just wanting to protect vote about the greed and grand life of metropolitan types. Again, wrong and you have slanted what we voted for. We want out of a neo federation that has nothing for us by way of enforcing our preferences and is all about telling us how we must live if we are to be part of the EU. This is what we voted against and not your reinterpretation, though the greed of you and other metropolitan types living the soft life is not something we misunderstand. I suspect that will be our next target for if you and others do not listen to us, then as someone smarter than me said long ago ‘fail to hear, and revolution follows’. Stop reinterpreting events through your templates and setting up debates live in studio to your opposing slanted view and LISTEN TO US.

    1. Ian says:

      Well said Mo I couldn’t have put it better myself. The arrogance of reporters whose biased reportage and condescending attitude to the majority of the population who voted to leave this unelected, unaccountable failed attempt to build a federal Europe diminishes their value in my eyes. Will he press Theresa May on her stance on allowing Sharia courts to operate in the UK? I doubt it.

  15. Nathan Stowe says:

    Couldn’t agree more, Jon. The campaigns led by both sides of the Leave/Remain divide have never failed to lead with anything but hear-say and conjecture.

    Whilst I agree that the dichotomy of the English demographic (The Metropolitan folk vs. The People) is the ultimate source of the result, I think we have failed almost all voters in the obligation to show the clear risks and benefits associated with either decision.

    There needs to be a shift towards the onus of these sort of campaigns to provide facts and evidence that can be understood by the ‘layman’, as it were. I imagine that a huge majority of the voters voted in good faith based on the information provided to them, but that very few were in a position to actually make a reasoned choice independently.

    This is not a failure of the voters, at the core, but a failure of the due process that says that anything can become a fact if enough people believe it.

  16. sheeponthelane says:

    Well said. My leave vote wasn’t about racism but about the fact that the young people with disabilities I support, simply cannot compete with bright, young, educated Eastern Europeans for low skilled jobs. The big companies get huge output and increase their profits, while these British citizens get decreasing benefits for the rest of their lives – all at the expense of the public purse. The effects of open immigration on communities has been real and ignored. There is a place for migrants in every economy, but this must be decided by an elected government, who takes into account the needs of ALL of it’s citizens. Not just wealthy shareholders. I cannot understand why the European Union didn’t see this coming.

  17. mohammed gulfraz says:

    Very well summed up. it’s an underlying fact that there has been great inequality and an image of “North-South” divide. People in the North of England and many parts of Wales have had to suffer decades of inequality in many sectors. European subsidies (fake charity) would not have been in need had Britain stayed out of the EU and fended for itself.
    In the coming months Britain will be swelling up with the burden of -“Immigrants and ever growing number of foreign workers (with enormous costs and implications, which no one seems to have thought about)

    whatever the cost of leaving the Eu, it would still be a small price to pay compared to the huge cost occurred whilst remaining within the EU.

  18. J.CLUCAS says:

    The most grudging of admissions that the mass immigration which has completely destroyed this country played any part of the rejection of the EU and the chattering class liberals like you Snow who think you know what’s best for the rest of us. Feel free now to report the economic migrant crisis now engulfing the continent of Europe which you’ve deliberately kept off our screens in recent weeks in case it frightened the electorate. Your hypocrisy and double-standards are phlegm-inducing.

  19. Anne says:

    This for me is the absolute root cause and the best analysis and way forward. “For many this WAS a vote about Europe, but for as many it was a vote about dispossession amid constant images of largesse and greed.”. This is not just a UK cry either. This is a global cry from a disenfranchised majority in a world where 1% hold 1/2 the wealth and many of that 1% are politicians. If our political elite don’t come down from their round towers of largesse and greed and meet the rest of us nose to nose I see no hope for them or ultimately us and our children.

  20. Adam says:

    How does one “reverse the consequences of austerity and cuts” when the electorate has just voted for a recession? Sometimes people have to man-up and accept the consequences of their choices. That’s what being an adult is all about.

  21. Dean says:

    The blaming of austerity and consequently seeing its demise as the answer is deeply misguided. There is still a large deficit & a huge national debt – spending more money, or “investment” as it’s become known, is not a simple and guaranteed answer.
    Look a Labour under Corbyn. Anti-austerity to the Nth degree, yet deeply unpopular & with no chance of being elected.

  22. Tobias says:

    How on earth is that going to happen under an ever right lurching Tory government?

  23. David Holland says:

    If Remain had won I wonder if we would have heard this insightful stuff from the Establishment about ‘2 Britains’ they certainly never mentioned it before. This was about self determination for all who have been denied both by the ruling class here in Britain and also by the unelected corrupt EU Commission

  24. Beata says:

    Dear Mr Snow,

    It is a shame the UK voted to leave the EU. I agree with your thoughts about it and unfortunately, as a EU citizen living in the UK, except more bad news and xenophobia. Feel all the years of wars have not left a lasting memory.
    Wonder where people like me will go, after years of hard work and integration with the wider society. Too ‘British’ to return to their country of origin but not enough British to be fully accepted in the UK.

    Thank you for your comments.

    Kind regards,

  25. Glyn Chetwynd says:

    this was not a vote split between poor and rich. it was a vote driven by people who could not understand that their economic position/fact less prejudice should be placed at the feet of their own politicians. Not everyone is prosperous but regardless of wealth some people use facts to make decisions.

  26. Chris Wilson says:

    Now that the battle to remain in the EU has been lost. The real battle for Britain has to begin. If we really want the open and democratic Britain people say they want. We really need to deal with the Establishment and the gross disparities and outright inequalities that exist in our country. We can be a better country in or out of the EU

  27. Orwell says:

    Thank you John. That is the only balanced appraisal of why we are leaving the EU I’ve seen all day. For me it isn’t quite complete as it doesn’t sufficiently take into account the role of the media in all this. I’ve yet to catch any significant voice from ‘ordinary’ OUT voters as to what they expect from our political servants in carrying out our decision. I am convinced that there should be an interim government formed as a coalition equally representing all interests, outside party politics; NOT like the last coalition we had but possibly like the one we had when last we were in desperate need of this form of government at the beginning of my life.

  28. Gordon Cook says:

    Dear Jon,
    I have a lot of sympathy for the young people however I was only 17 years old when we had the vote to go into the EEC it’s just one of those things maybe they should bring the vote down to 17

  29. Irene Shemaria says:

    This is the most sensible article I have read so far. Thank you Jon Snow. I am sharing this.

  30. David Jones says:

    There is truth in your words, large areas of the UK feel there is no one batting for them, the old industrial heartlands have been thrown to the wolves by both Tory and Labour governments.

    The way the sick and needy have been treated is beyond contempt, the government can bail out the banks, let multi nationals go with out paying tax, help bail out the Euro and EU failing countries, spend Billions on MP’s second homes and the like yet cut disabled benefit by £30 a week.

    The rise of spiv landlords charging high rents that often makes even working households to chose between eating or heating.

    A working family with 1 parent on 30hour with the other on zero hour contracts see themselves below the breadline and next door are 8 immigrants in 1 house all working full time each paying 1/8 of the rent, sending half their earning back home and claiming family benefits.

    1,000’s of young adults get their benefits stopped and are not shown on the unemployed figures, even more with zero hour or part time working lucky to get £72.00 a week all under the rules in employment. The unemployment figures could be doubled and still not show the true figures.

    Add bedroom tax and an over zealot DWP you can see why many feel hopeless.

    Then they find that Billions are send to the EU and don’t see what benefit it is to them personally, only to the rich and powerful.

    Many in the heart of London don’t know or don’t care they see their house price rise to over £1m. their wages rise every year, life in the garden is rosy.

  31. Rachel Aron says:

    Very much agree with this analysis. Thank you.

  32. Myrna Jelman says:

    Thank you, Jon. If we can reframe this ‘problem’ as an urgent opportunity to redress social and economic imbalance, we can contribute something worthwhile to the world once more, instead of feeling ashamed that we have taken something precious away. US, China, South east Asia, Europe and Africa, beware. You have just the same divide as us.

  33. Suzy says:

    Interesting and thought provoking. This referendum result was about much more than Europe. It shows the true scale of alienation felt by those who have been ignored.

  34. morgan says:

    well said, pity the labour party did,nt see it happening under our noses in 2010 sadly i cannot share your optimism in a Brexit government acting on what this referendum has told us rather,
    We in the north east await the Faragist purple shirts marching us to the wall or the Hartlepool Docks for repatriation or worse.

  35. Anne Virdee says:

    Your analysis is interesting and the effects of austerity on the poorer members of society undeniable but why did Glasgow and surrounding areas, poor by any standards, vote uncompromisingly for remain.

  36. Liam says:

    HOW TRUE,WELL SAID.ALTHOUGH NOT BRITISH I ALWAYS RESPECTED YOUR OPPION JON , suspect we Irish will pay most? good luck in future , time to think of duty free and quees at the border!

  37. Martin says:

    Why was that bully allowed to keep acting in an immature school yard manner to the lady trying to answer Jon snow .

  38. Philip Edwards says:

    For a few years now I have warned you of the isolation of “London,” its corruption of politics and economics, its ignorance of the rest of the country, its theft of wealth at the expense of the rest of us, and its media-led jeering at everyone else. I warned you continuously it would lead to the most serious consequences.

    This referendum result is but one consequence. Now much, much worse lies ahead.

    You people in the media have helped bring this about with your tenth rate “reports” and even worse historic references (tonight neocon Frei even managed to mention European revolutions without referring to the biggest of all, the Russian Revolution!). You are part of the problem, never of the solution. Not that it bothers any of you one little bit as long as you can cough up for your mortgage.

    Remember that as the British Union begins to break up and England atomises. To say nothing of worsening poverty and unemployment.

    There is a logical conclusion to all this. Guess what it is.

  39. greg edmonds says:

    I am from new zealand but have been following with great interest your referendum. and it seems to me that the people of the uk have shown great courage in what must have been a very difficult decision change is never easy . but you have gained the right to determine your own destiny . As in the past when your right to choose has been challenged you have not been found wanting .

  40. Mark Smith says:

    I stayed up till 6am, around 4am when the BBC finally called it, I went numb.

    Having gone to bed to get a few hours I woke up and thought it was a bad dream – but it wasn’t. In fact things had spiralled – the prime minister out as well.

    Shock, anger, sadness…. and betrayal. If it’s true what some reports advising that the older generation had much sway, they have inflicted a monumental change on the youth to satisfy their grievances….

    Having watched Channel 4 news this evening I was hoping that some chink of light would be spelt out – but I didn’t find any. When people look back and say “where were you?” I voted but it was not enough.

    Tonight, not even Jon Snow’s tie could brighten my mood…


  41. Trevor Hoyle says:

    Taken 10 years to sink in, Jon? Better late than never, I suppose. Now have a word with your co-presenters and introduce them to 21st century Britain (outside of the M25).

  42. Bruce says:

    With hindsight it is plain to see that pent up feelings of resentment and alienation, which increased with each turn of the austerity screw, had reached a level underestimated by many. The referendum provided a section of British society with the opportunity to release this frustration in what is clearly a largely anguished & emotional vote. It happened to be the EU, but any number of other establishment figures/institutions would have received the same treatment with a different question on the ballot paper.

    Rational economic arguments matter little to people with heartfelt grievances and threats of dire consequence have only hardened such feelings. That fact that politicians and the metropolitan media failed to appreciate the strength of feeling in Barnsley, Boston, Sunderland etc. emphasises the extent to which parallel societies have developed in Britain & elsewhere. Those with good education, opportunity and a degree of financial security do indeed increasingly live a different reality from those without and this is very unhealthy for society at large.

    A more egalitarian society can be forged, but it will require great leadership and imagination to do so. This is a Churchillian moment, for all our sakes I hope the forthcoming Brexit government is equal to this task.

    As a footnote Jon, I’d like to add that yourself and the C4 News team have the least to ‘confess’. Your reportage of the voiceless, forgotten and disenfranchised is second to none. Best wishes to you all.

  43. Ann Riley says:

    At last , someone who gets it . Thankyou for this blog . I have been appalled all day by the patronising way the leave voters have been portrayed, including by your own news programme this evening . .I voted to stay with little enthusiasm but the result has excited me . It is a complete rejection of the political establishment who have let down so many .

  44. Janet Oosthuysen says:

    Agree entirely John.

  45. Liz Jordan says:

    Very well said, Mr. Snow. I’m getting a little tired of the negative press and the pitching of the young against the old. First time I’ve ever agreed with Juncker: We’ve made our choice, this Government must act now to extricate us from the EU asap and begin to build our own country back up or we will have to install a Government who will.

  46. Nikki Hunt says:

    Right on the button. It’s now shoulder to shoulder.

  47. Mike Dolphin says:

    This is SO true – the most incisive comment on the Referendum I have read, and by far the nearest I have got to ‘justify’ my decision to those who have abused me (even good friends).

  48. Paul Johnson says:

    I have always regarded Jon Snow as a reputable journalist. He puts this historic event in true perspective eloquent and succinct.

  49. homo sapiens says:

    homo metropolis remains numerically inferior. A new Enlightenment is needed to counter the evolution of Eloi/Morlock populations

  50. Philip Denner says:

    I agree entirely with this. The problems we have are common to EU and US and are the result of globalisation and financialisation of our economies and the response by policy makers to the 2007/8 financial crisis. Wages in the developed economies have been going g down for decades comparatively so demand for goods and services is also reducing. Whilst capital and the jobs it creates have migrated away. This is compounded by the stupid austerity imposed for ideological reasons by governments. At a time when central banks have been printing g money to save bankrupt socially useless investment banks there asset price increase making the 1% richer has been the only economic consequece. Makes you wonder what they teach at Oxford!

  51. Maeve says:

    Dear Jon, if the government is not representing the people’s needs as you say above, and this is partially the result of that, is it time to push for proprtional representation? Like in Ireland? And will that help? Your thoughts?

  52. Meira Eliot says:

    While I can totally understand the intense, and justified, frustrations of the Leave voters, as well as the growing sense of horror and outrage at the sheer depth of socipathic behaviour from the Troika and the world banks, I feel a deep sense of personal loss and defeat by the outcome of this vote. My whole adult life since university in the 70s has essentially been a European project. There are three mixed marriages and bilingual families in my own immediate family circle – I am married to a Czech and our son has dual nationality. I have worked in Germany and the Czech Republic for half my lifetime so far (and will I now get a retirement pension?) My son’s elder cousin also has two bilingual children dividing their time between the UK and CZ. Another of my nieces is married to a Catalan surgeon and lives in Spain.
    It seemed very clear after the Scottish referendum that the whole political discourse about social justice, which had essentially been off the table in England since the Thatcher era, was going to rear its head with a vengeance. This, in my view, is what the Corbyn phenomenon was really all about. Now the Leave vote has emerged as a phenomenon of the south on the UK mainland, with Scotland and Northern Ireland showing more of a sense of political realism than their English counterparts, a break-up of the UK now seems as strong a possibility as an implosion of the EU. I fear that Yanis Varoufakis is right, and we are entering a scenario not unlike that of the 1930s, with naked political opportunism and lowest-common-denominator thinking reigning supreme. Vladimir Putin must be rubbing his hands together in glee today.

  53. Bernard Fuller says:

    The ‘confession’ statements wring true. Government needs to reflect upon the reasons for the alienation of a very large percentage of the population. But if you are one of those who are devestated by the result, it doesn’t necessarily have to be ‘all over now’. If the turnout and the vote meets certain criteria, my understanding is that EU rules allow for a second referendum, provided it is held within 3 months. The governments petitions website has the details

  54. simon says:

    Exactly put! Exactly put!

    The Polish minister in europe that told Channel 4, that his father fought in the RAF in World War 2, told channel 4 journalist, that Britain can never EVER ask the poles for help again!

    The older generation, that fought Nazis, and ignorant, moronic xenophobes, racists and bigots, have brought nothing but shame on this nation, as well as an older generation that is STILL at war with Napoleon and Hitler!

    Don’t go on holidays anymore!

    We will be hated and despised throughout Europe!

    1. jack says:

      I have Polish friends who fled from Poland IN WW2!
      They speak more highly of the decisions of our then politicians, who welcomed a huge number of immigrants into Britain then.
      I am told that they fled the Nazis with what they could carry, and as they arrived in Britain, despite all the shortages and German bombing found the welcome of the ordinary English people kindly and welcoming.
      Of course, then politicians were less bothered about making points and more about helping those who fled from the fascist menace.
      I remember also the valour of all those who thought as we Brits do, that nazi ism was worth fighting against , who eagerly joined our fight!
      Small world that now deprecates that same spirit of freedom, as GB decided that we have had enough of working to change yet another totalitarian regime!!

  55. Lynne Lawton says:

    We need a new politics in Britain, the old conservative/labour divide is stone dead. We need a 21st century system of governance, to rid ourselves of the lingering remnants of william the conqueror’s feudalism. We have, suddenly, a stunning opportunity to build up a newer, fairer, more inclusive society, not based on elites or elitism, and not relating to the elites and elitism of the wider world in the old way. We need to rise to this challenge and build a better Britain for future generations.

    1. jack says:

      Try a visit to NZ, Oz or Canada! They have managed to still keep the Queen etc,(more honorary than anything we have) but NOT to follow OUR antiquated system.
      I visited the NZ Parliament building recently, They had one guy on the door.
      He asked me “You wanna look round mate”?
      Try getting a welcome like that in our London parliament!

  56. Amanda says:
  57. James Green says:

    Fully agree with your view. Many former mining areas have not had investment since mines closed. The message put across by Remain the EU had brought prosperity and job protection since we joined, did not fit with voters perceptions. They had seen key industries close and workers rights watered down with a series of acts on TUs, redundancy, tribunals etc. Heard about protection of City Of London but saw no protection of industrial jobs. I believe Nationalist vote in Scotland is also due to disconnect of MPs with concern and issues in their constituencies, Unfortunately comments from some MPs show that they still do not understand there is life outside of London.

  58. Ginny says:

    Firstly, there is too much talk of London versus the rest of the U.K.. This is only fracturing our society further and doing more damage so please stop! There are MANY of us outside of London and Scotland who voted to REMAIN! Secondly I think it is time we held our politicians to account. The referendum has been won by Leave campaigners on the basis of wilful lies. Can we mount a civil action against them for fraudulent misrepresentation? I believe that if we are really going to move on we must unpick the issue which is really at the root of this mess, the rottenness of our political system.

  59. James says:

    Brilliantly put Jon. The Leave vote on the whole probably is a reflection of a deep structural problem in society, where people feel their prosperity is under attack and they seek to find reasons as to why.

    The referendum is an an outlet for their displeasure. The problems they face may not directly being largely an issue caused by EU membership but all it takes is a few people to try and dress it up as it is.

    When people become sufficiently dissatisfied, they become radical. Give them something to blame and they will jump on it.

    The solution is to work to improve prosperity. Further austerity under whatever guise given for its reason is not the answer and the British must resist this in order for us to not fall into an even more divisive situation than we currently have.

  60. Mike jarvis says:

    the issue was reduced to binary in out but was far more nuanced than that.

    we need politicians that represent not merely play for votes.

  61. Steve Vaux says:

    I agree with you Jon. The dIsenfrachised divisions in the rust belts of South Wales and the north east of England are invisible to the metropolitan elite. Divided and ineffective political parties will not deliver what people need. WS Churchill must be rolling in his grave.

  62. Diane Jones says:

    You only have to look at the areas of the country that voted Remain to see the divide within the country. As your ‘A Confession’ article points out these are the Areas where the influx of immigration and austerity cuts have had very little impact – and because they are already built up City Areas they are not being bombarded with ‘New Build Houses’ which the local people cannot afford. Just because peole voted Leave does not mean they are Racist or against immigration they just want it managed by the UK for the benefit of the UK (All of the UK).
    If anyone had bothered to do some Research prior to the Referendum to see ‘Why’ people would be voting Leave they may have been able to put forward some better arguments for Remain – Sad day for the UK

  63. Robin Hargreaves says:

    Having voted conservative most of my life. I became a member of the liberal democrats after the last election.
    What we see is politics stripped of the credible voice of liberal democracy. An internationalist voice that supports the working poor and most vulnerable. I live in the very type of northern post industrial town that swung this referendum on the issue of immigration.
    We returned a Tory MP who always professed to be on the liberal wing but who was a vocal and enthusiastic brexiter.
    The sentiments I hear from the 48% that I am in contact with are a rallying cry for liberal democracy. I hear non of the bitter hate speak of labour vs Tory so I hope ( perhaps in vain ) for an upsurge of modern liberalism.

  64. H Statton says:

    As much as I’d like to vent my spleen on this and many other blogs, it will have to wait; I’m away for a week or so. Needless to say I voted ‘Remain’ and am a tad upset. :- [
    I’ll be back…

  65. H Statton says:

    I’ve just remembered, I will be subjected to BBC News for over a week (shudders) :-||

  66. Derek says:

    Hi Jon – One of the Establishment hanging on, are you? I want the end of the present system and a totally new politics where there are no political parties. The whole present lot stink without exception

  67. Libby Alexander says:

    You were obviously in great shock the day after Brexit and interviewed as though in disbelief as you stood in Parliament Square pointing to ‘The Mother of Parliaments’ as though leaving the EU was an act of treachery. The treachery to the people has in part been played by The Establishment by such programmes as Channel 4 News assuming that its point of view was the only valid one. When did C4 ever investigate anything to do with the EU? When did C4 ever challenge any outpourings of rules and regulations that impacted on our daily lives? When did C4 take us inside the EU and explain what went on, where and with whom? When did C4 ever challenge any of the unelected, unaccountable, third rate bureaucrats who were all rejected by either their own voters or their Government and yet hold sway over everything that impacts across Europe. When did C4 ever challenge the lack of mechanisms to sack incompetent Commissioners? When did C4 ever challenge the EU over never being able to balance the books? When did C4 ever challenge the EU when it declared austerity upon the Eurozone and yet refused to cut back on its own projects, staff, wages, buildings, pensions, etc. etc. etc. When did C4 ever investigate where all the billions went on fraud/waste/incompetence etc. etc. How can you, in all honesty, declare you are shocked that the people of Britain have voted for Brexit when the Mother of Parliaments has been made so impotent that the Civil Service now has to employ thousands of staff because so few exist as all they do is ‘rubber stamp Bruxelles’!
    Of course the EU is angry because Brexit might jeopardise their overpaid, interfering, overpensioned cushy clublike positions.Of course the EU is angry because they are beginning to realise there is a swathe of people right across the continent who are fed up with their overarching unelected authority., Of course the EU is angry as they shout that it alone has kept the peace when in fact it is NATO (viz.Bosnia). Of course the EU is angry because it will not be able to spend our huge financial input on unnecessary irrelevant projects. If the EU was such a brilliant inspiring successful political movement why are they afraid that other countries might follow Britain with a Referendum and wish to leave. Also I would very much like to take issue with the fact that you all deem the call for immigration control as in some way ‘racist’, and that by Leaving we are no longer Europeans. You also deem that all Leavers must therefore be ‘Little Englander’s – a term you steadfastly abstain when mentioning any other country which wishes to rule itself.,I am not aware that anyone has said that in order to survive Australia and New Zealand must become part of the US. Your news programme is highly professional so it is hugely regrettable that you too have failed to engage with voters other than the metropolitan elite. The blood spilt by thousands at eg. The Somme was for, amongst others, Democracy, Sovereignty, and Freedom of Speech. It was not so that our Nation State should be subsumed into a morass of unelected, undemocratic, unaccountable bureaucrats.

    1. Walter says:

      Great response to self indulgent article. It’s interesting that C4 continues to interpret the result of this referendum, they clearly disagreed with, in terms of liberal left versus “far right”. There was too much focus in their pre-election programmes on personalities and insufficient examination of the workings of the EU itself. The undemocratic and bureaucratic nature of the EU was never fully explored.

  68. Laura says:

    Yet again (as with Iraq) the empty spin of narcissists has had a major influence, This time Boris, Gove and Farage. With Boris, it seems he would say anything to push opinion towards his own interests. The main characteristic of narcissists, apart from using others (including a whole nation) for their own supply, and portraying image to influence others rather than real substance (experts?), is the inability to join things up, to remember what they have said. The image of the bus and the sum for the NHS – somehow it did not mean anything. Pictures of migrants beating on our shores – but now they do not think they can influence immigration. When are we going to stop listening to people like this and encourage people to think beyond the spin? Please, do anything to stop Boris becoming PM, we need real leadership now.

  69. Robert says:


    I’m glad you’ve seen the division between the outward looking metropolitan and the inward looking regular England.

    To be clear, I’m all in favour of English people being able to enjoy an English identity in their towns and on their land for its own sake. If we were talking about foreigners in a foreign land, their rights to that identity would be respected, but it often feels as if there’s a particular brand of poisonous racism held by worldly-English toward heartland-English that somehow jealously guarding our land for our children alone is taboo.

    It feels as if this backlash from the heartland has been brewing for decades not years, and it’s finally arrived in the most disastrous fashion. My heart immediately went out to Northern Ireland when the consequences of a “hard border” returning between the north and the republic became apparent. It took us, collectively, many decades to build lasting peace in Northern Ireland and it breaks my heart to consider this old wound re-opening for mad and arbitrary reasons.

    Scotland is of course the other part of the UK that has its reasons for staying in the EU, not least because they voted for it. The first independence referendum was greatly swayed by Scotland’s desire to remain in the EU, so it is with great irony that there’s a threat of the UK dragging it out.

    Is it now the case that the Scotland and Northern Ireland will effectively stay in the EU, with only England and Wales removing themselves, not only from the EU but the UK itself? One thing is clear: of the four home nations, two of them want to leave and two of them want to stay. With such clear division, is the existence of the UK itself in doubt? It appears very much so… and very much another case of the Law of Unintended Consequences striking when least expected.


  70. stephen collier says:

    Let’s face it, Labour, along with its leader have always loathed The EU . If they had stood by their convictions they would now be looking forward to running this country in the coming autumn. If you should bump into the foolish Labour leader on your travels – whisper the following into his ear…Tony Benn.

  71. Luca says:

    And of course now Labour’s very own neocons stage a supremely cynical coup d’etat to remove the elected leader of their party and restore ‘Blairitism’. How very timely, huh? If – on top of Brexit – that’s not going to trigger the angry reaction of the British youth that feels represented the most by Corbyn, I don’t know what will.

  72. IAS2016 says:

    The problem of UK Democracy is seemingly combined with the undemocratic persistence of EU political union.

    It is fair to ask that, given that Democracy is a RIGHT to protect by Sovereign countries, why don’t some British politicians understand how national austere attitudes, commentary and polices have failed to rebuild real lives and the reinvention of social mobility into productive lives, whilst a clear indication of political focus has been placed on immigration filling roles?

    Was it not inevitable that someone was to get a bloody nose for such a HUGE and Unforgiveable Failure?

  73. Josefine Rydberg says:

    King of The North! King of The North!

  74. Chris says:

    A very good article. Yes this is about ordinary hard-working people vs the Faceless officialdom and Corporation cronies who have affected livelihoods. It is interesting to see that came the closest to leave was Morayshire – There the fishing industry was all but decimated by EU policies. This is about big government. The further away it is the more distant to peoples need, which Brussels is in every aspect. Wisdom and integrity is now a requirement from those who are delegated to move the process forward, so we don’t atke over the trappings of bad alliances.

  75. Margaret Saunders says:

    So we are where we are. Politicians on both sides of the argument have counter claimed by even more exaggerated claims. There was NO DEBATE – there was only vastly inflated claims on BOTH sides – nay lies and counter lies. Where was the reasoned counter argument? There was none, only an even larger piece of misinformation. And politicians on all sides have to face the fact the over the years of blaming the EU for less popular UK decision they now reap what they have sown.


    1. People have moved around the world for all time – otherwise we would all still be in Africa! Why was it ok for us to do this to other countries in times gone by but it is not now ok for it to happen in our country?

    2. Migration can’t be blamed for all the ills. The rich get richer and the poorer get poorer but that can’t be laid solely at the EU door. But here’s a thing, not one of us owns anything. We only hold it in trust until we pop our clogs. Maybe the multi billionaires might like to reflect on that – at least in Victorian times they liked to flaunt their wealth by providing public buildings and doing public works. Will anyone care or even remember that you drove the best Ferrari or wore the latest Guchi shoes in 200 years? Or will they look up the magnificent public building you subscribed to in 200 years with your name carved on the top and thank you for your generosity? Mr Carnegie had an idea or two – and it wasn’t about avoiding paying tax.

    3. And on the subject of holding things in trust – what do each of us want our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren to inherit? A world where climate change has destroyed so much? A world where bees have died out so nothing can be pollinated? A world where there are no jobs because everything is done by the latest technologies? A world where everyone is at each others throats? We need to work TOGETHER for the greater good – who was it that said we get the politicians we deserve?

    So – please, please stop the point scoring, otherwise we could disintegrate and splinter into even more strongly held differences and heaven only knows were that could lead. Certainly a very, very slippery road that has led in other situations to dire consequences, do you want to pass that on to your children? We need to address the huge issues that are facing our world today otherwise we will have no world to hand on. Please, please let us work together for the greater good rather than point scoring the ‘other’. Debate yes, half truths and misinformation no. And the media? Could you please clean up your act and instead of fanning the flames of discontent and misinformation start reporting in a fair and reasoned way and challenging that which is not true in a fair and reasoned out argument.

    Please, please members of the public stop thinking of ‘me’ and what benefits me and start thinking of ‘us’ and what benefits us!

    1. S. Johnson says:

      I agree with the sentiments expressed in this comment but why is it only now that people seem to noticing the unfairness of society? This has been happening slowly over forty years! Since Thatcher, actually.

  76. S. Johnson says:

    I agree with everything Jon Snow says. I voted to remain but as I live in North Lincolnshire, I see everyday the effects on society of forty years of neglect by successive governments. Yes, there are many badly educated poor people here who have no idea that they have shot themselves in the foot by this vote, but whose fault is that? If anything positive comes from this dismal result, let it be that those in power realise the urgent need to improve educational standards in this country.

  77. Jan O'Neill says:

    Any chance you could get Professor Michael Dougan, Liverpool university and Michael Gove et al in the same room, would be revealing!

  78. Wilson Thatcher says:

    perhaps if the Eu hadn’t grown so big since Uk decided to join; then joining or exiting w=ouldn’t have been an issue.

  79. Peter Barjonas says:

    Having just watched todays ch4 news from my Caithness home,I am left more than ever feeling that England is a foreign country.

    1. Jack says:

      Erm…wasn`t the In/Out referendum a UK vote??? Correct me if I`m wrong but didn`t the Scots vote NOT to leave the UK??(In that OTHER referendum where it was OK for Scots to vote NO, but not today for the English??

  80. 1973 in 2016 out says:

    Was Mr Snow vote to remain or depart the EU? and his motives; Perhaps a clue or outright disclosure in a later blog when the exit is eventually ratified in stone
    He may have no perspective; ; I bet his career and employment prospects have never been threatened by accented foreigners in predominately unskilled national minimum waged jobs.;

    Wonder how generously he tips such menial workers during his current and numerous past visits to North America given extra gratuities are the expected and stereotypical norm. They even ask for extra on credit card payments if you have no cash.

  81. Imapct worldwide says:

    Norway is a beauty; there’s nothing wrong with following its example in many departments.
    There is worldwide interest in the Brexit; I was in North America during the vote and when people heard me speak that was the topic that was brought up;

    Perhaps there’s a link to the Industrial Revolution on which UK was a powerful dominant force
    with lasting socio economic impact and/ or the uK’s involvement in the Americans during their Ciivl wars;

    Perhaps USA ‘interest is fuelled by in/direct expectations from their growth figures based on their dealings within Europe from which past trends either put uK in a favourable light because of the extra trade interaction with Europe permitted., made no difference or pessimistically just added to the copious competition from Asia and so was a welcome relief..

    To be honest , I think it was the political drama fallout that was more the pot stirrer; Not exactly Clinton-Lewinsky but still added several new branches and re wrote the Uk politics.

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