Watching & dissecting Carole Cadwalladr’s Brexit TED talk - how I suffer for Woodlarks
By Tom Winnifrith | Tuesday 30 April 2019
A reader says that he will donate £500 to Rogue Bloggers for Woodlarks if I watch and critique a talk by the crazy cat woman Carole Cadwalladr on how the Brexit vote was stolen For Woodlarks I will do anything, even this: please donate HERE. Of course, I knew Carole at Oxford ( same college, year below me) so I know what a fraud she is.
The video is here and I warn you that you will be wasting 15 minutes of your life watching it.
She starts her talk stressing how she is from South Wales and talking about how, the day after we voted for Brexit, she was sent by her editor to Ebbw Vale and old valleys mining town, solidly working class, which voted resoundingly to leave. The audience of rich liberals from Vancouver lapped it up as this plucky working class girl who boasts of her comprehensive education showed a photo of what Ebbw Vale looked like in her teens.
At this point I should, as a native of the West Midlands, show a photo of what Coventry looked like in my teens. You know, The Ghost Town of the Specials fame, a skinhead shooting up next to a dark tower block. Of course, I lived in a leafy little village and visited Coventry about as often as Carole left the poshest bit of Cardiff to go and check out some poverty porn up the valleys. But I am not trying to impress a bunch of well heeled libtards from thousands of miles away with the implication that I used to share an outside bath in the coal-shed with the rest of the terraced street while we sang Delilah.
Carole then shows all the great new buildings built in Ebbw vale, shiny leisure centres and other facilities and built partly with EU money? How could these plebs vote for Brexit given the bounty that flows from Brussels she asks, implying that they must be a bit thick not to realise how lucky they are. Maybe folk in Vancouver do not realise that this EU money does not come from thin air it is paid to the EU by its member nations. Well not all of them. The Greeks take out more than they put in. So do the Poles, the Spanish and in fact 17 of the EU member states. Britain puts in more than it takes out - £122 billion between 2000 and 2017 in fact. So those leisure centres in Ebbw vale were built with British, indeed Welsh cash. And so too were leisure centres in Greece, Poland, Rumania and across Europe. Carole did not mention that but the folks from Canada’s West coats laughed at how ignorant the Welsh were in not realising that the EU was the source of all bread from heaven.
Then Carole turned to immigration which, she insisted, was why so many folks voted for Brexit. But in the Ebbw Vale Parliamentary constituency there are almost no migrants she wailed, this is just an artificial fear stoked up by nasty right wingers. Perhaps it has not dawned on Carole in her Westminster media bubble world but folks do not spend their whole lives in isolation in their Westminster constituency. Folks in Ebbw vale travel to Cardiff to work, to watch rugby, to socialise, they have friends and relatives they visit in the big smoke and so they do see immigration first hand.
Don’t get me wrong, I love European migration. As an employer it provides cheap labour so keeping costs down and I get a nice Romanian couple to clean my house every week for peanuts. Because I am affluent there is no pressure in my school/health district on resources caused by migration. But the working class folk in South Wales are the ones whose wages are depressed by cheap labour, they do not have cleaners and they must compete with my cleaners and their kids for school and GP places. But for rich folks like Carole and myself immigration is a blessing so anyone who dares to question its unmitigated benefits must be a nasty right winger trying to scare those thick folks in Ebbw Vale.
So given that there was no rational case for voting for Brexit the crazy cat lady goes on to explain how the result was stolen, the thesis upon which her career has been built. And of course she thinks Brexit is a disaster noting that Japanese car manufacturers are leaving the UK because of it. That is a lie, the Japanese are also shuttering plants in Spain and Germany as the redomicile production. But the Canadian audience sucked their teeth as they bought every word.
So how was the vote stolen? Simple Carole reckons that folks in Ebbw Vale being labour voters read only the Daily Mirror not right wing tabloids like the Sun, Mail & Express so must have got their fake facts to con them into voting for Brexit from elsewhere. Carole doesn’t actually know anyone who is working class, she mixes in different circles and her crass assumptions about what they read display that for all to see. So she insists that the Brexit campaigns “took place almost entirely online” and that dark money influenced people in highly targeted facebook adverts. The dark money came from? Carole hints Russia via Arron Banks though she has no proof of this and Mr Banks has, quite rightly, threatened to sue the crazy cat lady for this.
The targeting using technology developed by Cambridge Analytica is nothing new. The Obama campaign used it. But again Carole overlooks this arguing that it is a new phenomena from the Brexit Trump era. She admits to not knowing how much was spent and how many folks were targeted but insists this must have swung the vote.
There is scant, indeed no, hard evidence that facebook ads swung the vote. But we do know that other non online campaign tools swung votes. For instance, those who read the leaflet sent by Dave Cameron to every household explaining why the Government opposed Brexit were 4% more likely to vote against Brexit than those who did not. That leaflet drop cost the taxpayer £9 million and meant that spending on anti-leave campaigning dwarfed that by pro leave campaigning during the referendum. Oddly Carole does not mention this as she bangs on about how we have laws to restrict campaign spending in UK elections and how these were breached in 2016.
Illegal spending, Russian collusion, dark ads, it is a familiar theme. The crazy cat lady thinks these common drivers explain the rise of populism in America, Brexit Britain, Italy, France and in many other places. She adds New Zealand to her list though there is little populism there but a right wing crazy did just butcher 50 Moslems so, what the heck, him and Trump and Farage they are all the same aren’t they Carole? Just chuck New Zealand into the list and smear by association.
I give you an alternative explanation for the rise of populism by which I mean a rejection of the established social democrat liberal consensus covering mainstream members of the political class in the West. Some populists are of the left (Syriza in Greece in its early pre sell out days, Melenchon in France, most are on the right) but they are all of the view that the established political, media and business elites, no classes, that have increasingly dominated our lives for 60 years are of the swamp and that the swamp needs draining and that their ideas and values are out of step with most of the population.
Since 2008 there has been a massive asset bubble which has benefited those with Real Estate in prosperous areas, with shares and bonds portfolios and which has fed through into big pay rises for higher earners. The rest of us have been left behind. As the wealth gap widens our kids cannot afford to buy houses, real wages for ordinary workers are, at best, stagnant. This is, in a word, unfair. I have recorded thoughts elsewhere on the failure of capitalism in this regard but it is a failure that the political and media elite – of which Carole is part of – are either complicit in or which they fail to understand so they do not see the, justified, anger of the folks in places like Ebbw Vale. Just as they did not see the anger of folks in the rust belt ahead of Trump’s victory.
The EU is part of that establishment which is one reason why big business ( or rather its fat cat CEOs), the bankers, the m edia classes all weighed in to push for "remain" Just as in America, the green lobby which has done so much to destroy jobs in the rust belt while making a few coastal liberals very rich, is now part of the establishment.
Not having met many working class folks for a long time, if ever, Carole might like to think that the plebs are easily swayed by adverts on facebook. I think not. Carole likes to tell her audience in Vancouver that only one side lied in the Brexit referendum (Leave). Au contraire. Both sides told porkies, utter whoppers in some cases. Remember being told that if we voted leave it was a FACT that 600,000 jobs would be lost and that house prices and the stockmarket would crash. In fact house prices are marginally up on 2016, the stockmarket is well ahead and em ployment is at an all time high. Both sides did what politicians always do, mislead. The British people weighed all that up and voted.
Folks like Carole Cadwalladr need to find an excuse for why the plebs voted the wtrong way and without providing any facts to verify her claim, her excuse is that Farage et al stole the election. Just as she and others have insisted for two years that Trump colluded with the Russians to steal his win. Mueller has nailed that canard.
What the crazy cat lady and her ilk cannot comprehend is just that folks are angry for so many reasons and that she is part of the patronising establishment with whom they are angry And that is why, with a tiny new media spend the Brexit party will win the Euros just as populists like Salvini in Italy and the loathsome Le Pen in France will also win. Merely insistsing that we folks who voted for Brexit are too dim to understand the issues or are swayed by Russian funded tweets or facebook posts is not going to dissipate that anger, if anying such patronising tosh will only add to it.
As such I hope everyone in Ebbw Vale watches Carole’s talk so they know what their social superiors really think of them, the stupid, bigoted little oiks.