Monday, November 14, 2016

Ebbw Vale and the European Union.

What are we to make of the way Ebbw Vale voted in the EU Referendum debate. 62% voted Leave. The highest Leave vote in Wales. Ebbw Vale in a town with a population of 18,000, and is reckoned to have received the highest level per capita EU funding in the UK. Ebbw Vale is an old ironworks/steelworks/coal mining, valleys town. While one might have expected the good folk of Ebbw Vale to be grateful for the massive sums of money the European Commission has invested in their area over recent years, the reality is the opposite.

Along with 3 other members of the Welsh Affairs Select Committee, I joined around 40 Ebbw Vale citizens at their local Institute to consider the way ahead. While it was an articulate engaging audience, I'm not sure it reflected local opinion. Almost all those who attended were 'Remain' voters. I think the Chair of the Committee, David Davies MP walked down the street to discuss the issue with people just going about their business, and found not a single Remain voter. There's a hugely important message there for those of us involved in 'government' at all levels. 

The purpose of our meeting was to allow the attendees to tell us what the Gov't should be focusing on during Brexit negotiations. The general areas we were hoping to cover were 'Arts', 'Jobs and Industry', 'EU Funding for Wales', and the 'Welsh Language. In reality, I did not find it a structured discussion at all - and none the worse for that. Inevitably it was not easy to move on from the debate about Remain/Leave, but it was lots better than a similar debate would have been at Westminster. My conclusion was that it's too early to have a meaningful debate on Brexit negotiations yet. But I enjoyed my meeting with the opinions of Ebbw Vale. Maybe repeat the exercise in two years time. 

7 comments:

Steve Boyd said...

David Davies MP - wasn't he the chap who tweeted ''Unelected judges calling the shots. This is precisely why we voted out. Power to the people!''? Another Tory MP who doesn't understand how our democracy works.

Glyn Davies said...

Steve - not sure what you are trying to say. Seems to me that David Davies MP knows better than most why the people voted Leave.

Angel1964 said...

Fair enough that this town voted to leave the EU, but, am I right in saying that, we you and David became MP's, you signed up to a) acting in the best interests of the UK and b) to uphold the Code of Conduct? If so, then why can you support Brexit?

Anonymous said...

Is that David Davies MP who's constituency voted to Remain? Out if step there isn't he.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the residents of Ebbw Vale, on their visits to Newport and Cardiff, have noticed that those cities are inundated with immigrants. Voting to leave the EU may have been motivated, in part, by fears that Ebbw Vale will be similarly swamped. As someone who lives in Riverside, Cardiff, I can honestly say that mass immigration does have its downsides for the native population. I've had Romanians "hot-bedding" in the flat above me, causing noise 24 hours a day; infestations of cockroaches caused by Jain neighbours who refuse to kill any animals; and experienced racism and violence on the street from Somali youths.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the residents of Ebbw Vale, on their visits to Newport and Cardiff, have noticed that those cities are inundated with immigrants. Voting to leave the EU may have been motivated, in part, by fears that Ebbw Vale will be similarly swamped. As someone who lives in Riverside, Cardiff, I can honestly say that mass immigration does have its downsides for the native population. I've had Romanians "hot-bedding" in the flat above me, causing noise 24 hours a day; infestations of cockroaches caused by Jain neighbours who refuse to kill any animals; and experienced racism and violence on the street from Somali youths.

.... and there are loads of smelly English

Anonymous said...

knew we shouldnt have let Somalia join the EU.