The left are keen to redefine the Brexit voters and the Trump voters as part of the world’s poor, left behind by the shiny new globalisation mainly left of centre governments like the US and France have brought them. They say they get it. Apparently the UK’s wish to be independent was no more than a protest vote by former steelworkers and low paid workers.If only we had left it to the civil servants, teachers and lawyers we would have got the right answer. The vote for Trump was a howl of anguish from the “Rustbelt”, a disobliging phrase used to describe swing states that voted the wrong way. Successful parts of the world were dismissed in a throw away description because one or two core industries had experienced a painful decline.
They extend this analysis to Brexit voters in the UK and AFD voters in Germany. Apparently we were all low skilled, down on our luck and uneducated. If only we had done as well at school and got to College as they did, we would not conceivably have voted the way we did.
This is of course self justifying nonsense. For every out of work steelworker who voted for Brexit there was a well qualified professional also voting for it. And why are they so scornful of the out of work steelworker, whose vote is worth the same as the lawyer and whose judgement may be better? For every low paid worker backing the AFD there is also a wide range of people who are far from struggling voting the same way. In order to get to 52% in the UK and to 48% in the USA for Mr Trump you need to do far more than mobilise the people who have lost out from globalisation.
Nor is it true to say all Brexit or Trump voters are anti all features of globalisation. Many of us are happy to work alongside talented people from other cultures, to have open borders for tourism, student exchange and business travel, to enjoy the benefits of good imports and to share technology around the world. We do not want to put the clock back to a world where there is little international trade in ideas and services.
The main features of globalisation which many dislike are the result of supra national government. There is a widespread feeling that too much is now dictated by the EU and by international Treaty. This prevents democratic engagement over our laws, and stops elected governments making changes people want.
There is also a widely held view that allowing in too many migrants year by year drives down wages, creates shortages of homes and public facilities, and changes communities too rapidly. This feeling is strong in many parts of the USA and Europe. Taking too many talented and skilled people from developing countries into unskilled work in the west also makes the economic progress of developing countries more difficult to achieve. It is related to the excessive international government, which insists on free movement to the higher paid places.
Most of the people who want a slower pace of inward migration to the US or UK are far from being racist. They do not wish to pick and choose people based on race or origins. They simply want fewer people overall. The extraordinary thing is how tenacious the elites are in trying to keep government away from people, by doing more and more through unaccountable global institutions and by treaty. As Labour implied in the UK, if the politicians do not like the way people vote in elections and referendums, then they set out to change the people. That is why both sides get so angry with each other.