A neat but delusional mythology appears to be gaining currency (see, for example, Lloyd Evans’s interview with Bernard-Henri Lévy) that the Brexit referendum can be understood as a conflict between metropolitan elitists voting Remain and the frustrated masses beyond the M25 longing to Leave. This analysis may chime satisfyingly with recent trends in some other democracies, but it distorts what happened in this one. In the two UK countries furthest from London, the votes went against Brexiting by bigger margins than the UK-wide Leave majority: 56-44 in Northern Ireland, and 62-38 in Scotland. London vs The Rest only works if The Rest ends at Carlisle. Incidentally, both these margins were clearer than the supposedly definitive outcome of Scotland’s 2014 independence referendum.
This letter appears in this week’s Spectator, out now