Polly Toynbee writes: The clutch of England fans in Marseille were unequivocal. “Fuck off Europe, we’re all voting out,” they chanted. I’ve spent the week listening to much the same, politer, but just as fingers-in-the-ears adamant. No fact, no persuader penetrates their certainty – and these were Labour voters. Will Labour’s campaign week, kicked off by Gordon Brown in the face of a dire new Guardian poll, shift many outers?
Inside Labour’s London HQ, I joined young volunteers manning the “Labour In” phones with every fact at the ready. We had sheets of Labour-supporting names to call in Nottinghamshire – and the results were grim. “Out”, “Out” and “Out” in call after call, only a couple for remain. “I’ve been Labour all my life, but I’m for leave,” they said. Why? Always the same – immigrants first; that mythical £350m saving on money sent to Brussels second; “I want my country back” third. And then there is, “I don’t know ANYONE voting in.”
Try arguing with facts and you get nowhere. Warn these Labour people what a Johnson/Gove government would do and they don’t care. Warn about the loss of workers’ rights and they don’t listen – maybe that’s already irrelevant to millions in crap jobs such as at Uber or Sports Direct. “We’re full up. Sorry, there’s no room for more. Can’t get GP appointments, can’t get into our schools, no housing.” If you tell these Labour voters that’s because of Tory austerity cuts, still they blame “immigrants getting everything first”. Warn about a Brexit recession leading to far worse cuts and they just say, “Stop them coming, make room for our own first.” [Continue reading…]