The normal “I’m working hard for you” leaflet came through the door yesterday from the local MP Tracey Crouch.
There are paragraphs explaining what she’s doing for “infrastructure” which largely means traffic management because that’s the sort of stuff that pisses people off on a daily basis. It’s something that is easy to do but doesn’t really solve the bigger issues. I guess there are legitimate reasons for an MP to get involved with this at a local level.
There’s a paragraph about how the MP is helping to look after the older people and this is good news as we should all learn to look after people and be nice. But the cynic in me can’t help but think that it’s old people who vote for the Tories.
I was impressed that Tracey Crouch resigned her ministerial position over her own party’s government not changing the law on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals. It just about forced the government to do something but the idea that it needed a minister to resign for the Tory government to want to do something to help people shows what contempt they have for the poor.
My biggest issue is with the following text at the top of the news leaflet:
“I want to reassure residents that I am working hard to deliver a Brexit that 65% of local people voted for.
These are challenging times but I believe that Chatham & Aylesford residents voted to leave the EU full in the knowledge of all the varying pros and cons and that is what I will strive to deliver.”
These words have angered me immensely. First, I want to break down the 65% number. The records for the referendum are broken down by local council area rather than constituency area. Tracey Crouch is MP for Chatham and Aylesford which contains part of Medway and also part of Tonbridge and Malling local council areas.
Medway voted OUT at a rate of 64% of those who voted but when total electorate is taken into consideration only 46% percent of those eligible to vote voted to leave the EU. [total electorate=192524, remain=49889, leave=88997 using numbers from Electoral Commission website].
Tonbridge and Malling voted out at a rate of 55.7% of those who bothered to turn up to vote. Once again, once the total electorate is taken into consideration the rate who voted to leave the EU is 44%. [total electorate=93019, remain=32792, remain=41229].
How my local MP can claim that 65% of local people voted to leave is ridiculous. She is taking the most extreme value possible from the referendum results. As her constituency contains residents from both the local authority areas it seems extremely likely that the actual number who wanted Brexit is remarkably low. By combining both areas the overall result is 44% to leave the EU.
My next problem with the few words the MP wrote in the leaflet is that she believes residents voted to leave the EU full in the knowledge of all the varying pros and cons. I disagree with this statement in its entirety. From polling we know that many people have differing views on what they were voting for. For some it was to end immigration, for others it was to stop those bloody Europeans interfering in our laws and so on. I suspect that all of those who voted to leave would explain what they wanted differently. The national debate was framed poorly and used fear of immigration to push a point while not explaining that we aren’t part of Schengen and so have control anyway.
If we had told people that their phone roaming charge would probably come back once we leave the EU I think some would have changed their mind. If the electorate had understood that to sell things to the EU we would have to maintain their current standards for manufacturing and all future standards without any say in those regulations I thin they would have changed their votes.
If people had a multitude of things explained to them then they may have voted differently. Obviously you are going to have those people whose views can’t be persuaded by facts or those who are just racist but I’m sure plenty would have voted differently if the benefits of being in the EU had been stated more clearly and if people had understood how the EU works.
The whole process of the referendum was driven by hate and fear and pushed by the right wing press. People didn’t understand what they were voting for and they all had different ideas of what the result would be.
So, the numbers don’t really stack up to support the MP’s view of how to approach all the decisions she needs to make during this period of debate on leaving the EU in parliament. I honestly believe that an MP should always do what is best for the future of the people in their constituency even if that means fucking them over and getting voted out because the people didn’t like it. We all like eating sugary desserts while fully in the knowledge that we will develop type 2 diabetes. The people don’t always know what is best for them.
Also, the concept that people understood what they were voting for two years ago is plainly ridiculous. Even if you asked people now I don’ t think they can agree on what “leaving the EU ” really means.
This whole thing is tearing this country apart and while we are doing this we are ignoring the general causes of the decision by not giving a shit about the chronic under investment in everything over the last ten years. We should be spending money to look after people and invest for the future. Instead we are slowly creating and economic and social collapse to suit the vagaries of personality in the tory party.