Friday, 1 July 2016

Simon Hix on the the EU after the Brexit referendum

Michael Gove thinks that people have had enough of experts. Like others, I would contest this vision. The post-referendum chaos produced by the British government and the lack of a plan of the Leave campaign has left many of us clueless about what will come next. And so we look for experts.

One of them is Simon Hix, whose LSE lecture on the demographics of Leave/Remain voters and on potential future scenarios comes at the right time.

Simon explains how, in the course of the campaign, he and other university experts have come, for the first time, into contact with voters who were genuinely angry. That's not an experience (unlike politicians) academics often get, but one that more than anything represents what this campaign was all about. Directing anger. Old anger, new anger. And the EU as a convenient target for that anger.

Simon's presentation has lots of data on the divide that runs through the British society. Much of this data has been going around social media in recent days, but it's probably the most condensed you will get to see and hear this - and so watching the presentation is well worth the time.

For those of you having followed the Brexit debate closely in the past week, don't expect any surprises, but for those of you who find this in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years: this is what experts like Simon thought has happened and will happen just days after the referendum. You will know better what came next, you will be the future experts where the experts of the present can only speculate.

Aready a day after the speech, yesterday's announcement of Boris Johnson not to run for Tory leaderships indicates that a lot of what one might expect will happen may actually happen much differently, and the coming weeks and months will be full of twists and turns few will be able to predict at this stage. Still, the voices of experts like Simon Hix and others are necessary to guide us through some of the mess that is yet to come. With or without Michael Gove.

Update: Lecture slides uploaded by Simon Hix. (04/07/2016)