A common theme among commentators is that Britain is now split down the middle over Brexit. Just how deep this is was shown in 2017 by You Gov polling on issues as apparently irrelevant as Beards and Eating Meat. Key findings were
Meat eaters vote Brexit – In April 2017 24% of Leave voters believed they were ‘very unwilling’ to consider eating “eating less meat and fewer meat products”. Only 9% of Remain voters felt the same way.
Then there is Donald Trump. On the eve of his inauguration 30% of Leave voters thought he would be a ‘good’ or ‘great’ president. Zero Remain voters thought he would be a ‘great’ president, only 3% thought he would be ‘good’.
Leave voters back Trump on Climate Change, luckily only 26% wanting to join the US outside the Paris climate change agreement, while only 5% of Remain voters want to do so.
The Leave contingent are not happy with prison as a way of rehabilitating prisoners – even more right wing than Michael Gove who to be fair is worried by the numbers of criminals committing further crime, they have not been rehabilitated. Not for his public though.
The Leavers have strong views, 35% see prison as being “to punish the criminal”, 24% “to act as a deterrent”, and 20% “to get violent criminals off the street”. But 41% of those old softies the Remainers said the main purpose of prison was “to rehabilitate the morals and skills of criminals”.
Many Leavers do not like the BBC, they see it as a bar to good new reporting – as it has to be unbiased and not a Brexit propaganda channel and unsuprisingly 32% of Leave voters would prefer a privately run corporation.
Bizarelly the Leave voters tend to think schools are well funded – 34% agreeing they are as opposed to 17% of Remain voters. Not good news for the NUT (or for schools) – the National Union of Teachers ran a web site on school funding cuts during the last General Election which got three and a half million hits from worried parents.
And Leavers know a lot about cockney rhyming slang, as a question in February 2017 showed – Leave voters “significantly outperformed Remain voters” according to the Guardian, getting phrases like “Jack Jones” (on your Jack Jones… on your own.Ed). “Ruby Murray” (= curry), “dog and bone” (= phone) right with “a higher score on every question”.
And then there is the strange hatred of facial hair, Leaver women do not like it. In November 2016 YouGov found that more than half Leave women (53%) disliked facial hair while 60% of Remain women were happy with beards. Not so clean cut (pun intended) among the men, 64% of Leavers were clean shaven compared to 60% of Remain man.
On race issues, the Leavers are thinking in ways Enoch Powell might agree with – not quite ‘Rivers of Blood’ but….. 70% of Leave voters supported a ban on full body and face veil (ie anti muslim) only 32% of Remain voters felt the same way.
And then there is the tricky question of racial stereotypes. On Gollywog dolls, the question “Do you think it is or is not acceptable to sell or display a gollywog doll?” 71% of Leave voters thought it was, only 37% of Remain voters thought so.
Tim Bale, Professor of Politics at Queen Mary University London who commissioned this piece of research was quoted in the Guardian as saying “age, identity and values – as opposed to, say, economics – played a big part in which way people voted, and they’re also exactly what drives what people think about gollies”.
Recognising how deeply Britain is divided by Brexit, both Stephen Kinnock MP and the Archbishop of Canterbury (in the Daily Mail of all places) have argued for reconciliation across the divide, which in practice means, that Remainers should give in and appease the Leave camp. On this data, reconciliation is not on the cards, just total surrender to reaction and a marked rise in the number of razors being sold.