As part of my journey through the leave-supporting areas, I have come to Brexitland-on-Sea.
He means South Thanet.
The beauty does indeed jar with the visible signs of decline.
“If you’re on the harbour looking at the sea, you could be in the Med,” as Stuart, the landlord of Ramsgate’s Churchill’s Tavern tells me. “Turn around, and you could be in Moss Side.”
A little harsh, I fear!
Some express hopes that the decline is starting to reverse, with creative bohemian types fleeing London’s high house prices to create a flourishing artistic scene.
Yes, that’s wonderful. It’ll soon be Brighton. All their troubles are over!
I meet two young Latvians, both of whom work in a salad factory, walking hand in hand. They say they feel welcome…
Well, damn! That’s not part of the narrative, is it, Owen?
…but the presence of migrants is clearly divisive.
Ah. Of course. If there’s no actual evidence, just claim it – it’s the ‘Guardian’ after all!
How does that play on the doorsteps of Brexitland, I ask Karen: if I were a constituent blaming migrants for my lack of affordable housing, what would she say? “I’d ask how you were managing, whether you’re getting any support from family and friends. I’d agree it’s very tough and a very unfair system, that we have a government that isn’t building something that is affordable.”
Above all else, she said, she would show genuine concern for their plight, rather than dismissing them.
They’ve learned a few things then, since Gordon’s reign…