This week has seen the Spring Conference of the pro EU Liberal Democrats and a speech from their leader, Sir Vince Cable, that shows why his party are becoming an irrelevance on the national stage – they are in denial about the Leave vote in the Referendum and have no idea what drove it.
Sir Vince stated in his keynote speech that older voters were driven by nostalgia and for a world where ‘faces were white’.
I was the co-ordinator for the Leave campaign in Hillingdon during the referendum, a West London Borough with a very diverse community. Funnily enough, those older white faces were in the more affluent North of our Borough which had the smallest leave vote – we had a 57% mandate to leave the EU across the borough but the strongest vote for our exit from the EU was in the Hayes & Harlington constituency, at nearly 60%, a constituency that is a Labour stronghold and where White English people are now in the minority.
Like Sir Vince, local MP John McDonnell dismissed the leave vote on the Sophy Ridge Show on Sky a few weeks later as being driven by ‘fear of the other’ and a ‘lack of information’
I had many memorable conversations on our street stalls in the area during the campaign, one of the most striking being with a black South African who had been involved in the anti-Apartheid campaign in his homeland during the 1980s. He advised me that he was fully behind Brexit as he had fought so hard to get his voice heard during those times – “I can’t believe that anybody would vote to give away their ability to elect those who represent them when I had to fight to get my right to vote.”
Our team also heard many BME Britons talk about embracing the Commonwealth and those who had stood with us during the times when Europe was not such a peaceful place – they felt upset that well qualified friends and family of theirs who wanted to come to the UK and could contribute as engineers and medical staff were discriminated against in favour of white Europeans who were coming to do manual work.
Indeed, a report published last week showed that EU migrants are costing the UK economy £4bn in benefits payments when our NHS is struggling to recruit trained staff from outside of the EU to fill the skills gap that has been exacerbated by the failure of our government to train the staff that we desperately need from our own labour pool.
Sir Vince also stated that the vote had crushed ‘The dreams and aspirations of younger people for years to come’. Maybe he has not consulted the younger people of Italy who see unemployment rates of over 40% and voted overwhelmingly last week for Eurosceptic parties in their national elections, or the unemployment rates amongst the youth of Greece and Spain whose economies have been crushed by the EU and their Euro currency to push their unemployment rates to similar levels?
Is this the future you wish to see for the youth of our country in pursuit of the EU superstate, Sir Vince?
Vince Cable represents the dreams of the 20th century, a protectionist bloc when tariffs were high and the world was a different place. Brexit represents the dreams of the 21st Century – a UK that is outwardly looking, globally trading, independent and prosperous. A 21st century where your personal ability and hard work is the judge of who you are, not your skin colour, age, gender or religion.
His opinions should be left in the past along, with his political party.