Posts Tagged ‘wales’
Bloomberg’s Lisa Freisher looks at why one Welsh steel town dependent on EU funding counterintuitively voted for Brexit. Desperation, blind desperation, seems key.
On the eve of the Brexit vote, nearly all official voices were nudging residents of the steel town of Port Talbot, Wales, to vote to remain in the EU: A healthy chunk of the steel produced locally was shipped into Europe, and the EU sent millions of pounds to aid the local economy.
The message came from management at the giant mill, owned by Tata Steel. Union bosses. Local politicians. But those voices from above seemed to only repel residents fed up with the status quo.
Protesting decades of industrial decline while London thrived, 57% of the 75,652 people who voted in this once proud region of steel production decided to take a chance and leave.
“All I’ve ever seen was a decline in the steel works,” said Andrew Clarke, 30, who finally got a job at the plant two years ago as a crane driver, only to watch his father laid off from the plant this year. “People might maybe losing pensions, maybe losing bonuses, maybe losing holidays.”
The town was one of many places across England and Wales where people voted against what a host of experts and government officials said were their own self interests, in favor of an unknown alternative. In Sunderland, where Nissan employs 6,700 autoworkers on the northeast coast of England, Leave won 61% to 39%. In Cornwall, after its residents voted to leave, local officials asked for reassurance after the vote that £60 million ($80 million) in annual EU support would be replenished.