“Why We Voted leave: Voices from Northern England

By richard | 06/07/2016

This short video provides us with voices from Northern England. We hear about the closures and about the strikes that took place decades ago. We hear superficially about migration but the key message is that the North feels abandoned by the South. The North has been fed the message that austerity is the fault of the European Union and that the European Union imposes its will on people rather than provide them with the freedom to choose.

Why we voted leave: voices from northern England from Guerrera Films on Vimeo.

Although mentioned briefly London has failed rural England. Mines closing down and jobs disappearing is one thing. To have poverty and the sense of hopelessness continue for generations is harder to understand. What about education and regeneration projects?

Parts of the city region experience skills shortages, particularly in key growth sectors and clusters. There are also significant problems of low basic skills levels, which are quite acute within some disadvantaged communities. In parts of the city region, educational performance remains lower than the national average. The city region’s labour market functions below its optimum. It has a higher than average level of worklessness, especially in inner urban and isolated rural areas. Source

If there are skills shortages then couldn’t the local community provide those who are unemployed with vocational training to learn the skills that are required? We see the same problem in Spain. There is unemployment but the source is an educational system that has not kept up with the job market. “It’s a paradox,” said Valentin Bote, head of research in Spain at Randstad, a recruitment agency. “The unemployment rate is too high. Yet we’re seeing some tension in the labor market because unemployed people don’t have the skills employers demand.” source. 


Caretaker Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, the front-runner to lead the next government after posting gains in Sunday’s election, has pledged to add half a million jobs a year, but his campaign focused on posts for the legions of unemployed, rather than producing skilled workers to power the economy. Rajoy’s opponents say his policy of driving down wages and stripping back job protection has mainly created poorly-paid low-skill posts. source

We see that as certain jobs go to where labour is cheaper people are saying “But I want to keep doing my old job.” The European Union allows people to migrate to do the job they want to do. They could move to France, Germany or other countries. Instead they stay home and express nostalgia. Their attitude if they want to stay in England should be “Well, if you take away my current job then train me to do a higher skilled job.” England has a diversity of vocational training schemes at numerous levels, from BTEC to foundation degrees and more. There is no reason not to upskill when there is a shortage of work.

At a European level, Doncaster is part of the Yorkshire and the Humber (European Parliament constituency) constituency and is represented by six MEPs.(source) 

The European constituency of Yorkshire and the Humber is coterminous with the English region. After the European Parliament election in May 2014, Yorkshire and the Humber is represented by three UK Independence Party two Labour and one Conservative MEPs. (source)

Until 2011 Yorkshire Forward was the Regional Development Agency charged with improving the Yorkshire and Humber economy, where some 270,000 businesses contribute to an economy worth in excess of £80 billion. With over 5 million people living in the region it ranks alongside some small countries including Ireland, Greece, Norway and Singapore. Source

According to the Leeds City Region wikipedia page a diversity of jobs are available in a range of professions:

Economic drivers and innovation

City region growth sectors include

• Financial and business services

• Electronics and optical

• Communications

• Health and public services

Niche clusters are

• Digital and media

• Bioscience and medical research

• Advanced niche manufacturing, including defence

• Logistics and distribution[15]

Six universities in the region produce 40,000 graduates a year. Source

Democracy is about the flow of information and we see that people voted without understanding the situation. Every time a person is asked a question we see that they speak in generalities with very few concrete examples. The strongest point is about the protest and the mine closures. Look at the interview in the library. One person was in favour of remain but he was unable to explain how to affect change at an EU level. These people have six MEPs to represent them in Brussels. These are the people they should have been encouraged to bring their concerns to.

I probably spent an hour researching this blog post. I was surprised by how positive the situation looks. With what seem like minor changes the inequalities currently present in Northern England could be rectified.

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