James O'Brien's Brexit Insight After Trip To Margate This Weekend
30 July 2018, 16:17
James O'Brien visited Margate this weekend and it opened his eyes to why so many seaside towns voted for Brexit.
Areas such as Clacton and Rochester were strongly pro-Brexit during the EU referendum in 2016. And as James visited Margate in Kent, he realised why that is.
He said: "I love the seaside, always have done, sometimes much to my wife's irritation.
"But the air of decline is palpable. And I'd missed this in the run-up to the referendum.
"I always wondered why they were so heavily pro-Brexit, thinking that people must rely on international trade. But of course, the man on the streets of Clacton doesn't rely on international trade for his livelihood.
"So I suddenly realised as I was walking through Margate and admiring the Victorian architecture, that they are living their entire life in a sense of decline. That's far from a criticism, it's an expression of heartfelt sympathy.
"They've lived their whole life in a building where the paint is peeling, where the windows are wonky and you have this constant sense of your best days being behind you."
"I think the future's getting less exciting, or more worrying, for all of us and that's why we gravitate towards big cities, it's why kids like me move from Kidderminster to London.
"Because we have our eye on the future, on our future, and that transmutes into the national future.
"I would never criticise or insult people who stayed in Kidderminster, but when I'm at the seaside - particularly with Brexit being so front and centre in our minds at the moment - those of who who care about the country, there's a life lived.
"An entire life you are born and raised in decline, in an area where you feel like the best days are behind you.
"And I think that's what got weaponised during the referendum."