Angry Voters Are Wrong

May 24, 2014

I am no longer a councillor after 10 years because we are moving away from Rochdale and I didn’t stand.

There are some things you are not meant to say when you are an elected representative because it is bad taste to have a go at your electorate. You are meant to listen..  even to rubbish!

But I cannot stand any longer those I see on screen and hear on radio, who nod and look concerned and say they have to listen more to the people and do more about addressing their anger.

So the people are angry. What exactly are they angry about?

That we live in a global competitive world where people can travel and chose where they work if they are lucky and wealthy enough?

Angry that there are people out there who are keener to work than some of us?

Angry that we in Britain are so lucky and wealthy that millions of people pay huge personal sacrifices to come here and take up work that most British people are too snooty about to take up?

Angry that even in Europe there are millions of people who live well below the poverty line so they come to improve their lot?

Angry that we are so much better off than most people in most other parts of the world?  (we should be angry that there are desperate people being smuggled into this country on a daily basis to work as quasi slaves. Apparently many popular nail bars are run by gangs who bring in girls illegally from East Asia, who sleep on the floor at the back of the shop.  Any ‘angry voter’ ever asked that question when they had a bit of ‘Me’ time and got their nails done.)

Angry that once ‘Britannia ruled the world’, which means that this country has a long history of ethnic diversity?

When I have asked people on the door step which job they did not get because of somebody from Eastern Europe or which house they were not given because of a family from an ethnic minority –  there was silence. (Or they ‘didn’t want to discuss this with me on the door step’.)

When I asked – in response to the claim that this country was ruled by Europe and needed to be master of his own destiny again- what exactly would be different and what were the laws from Europe that so oppressed this country- there was silence.

When I was told that all political parties ‘needed a kicking’ and I asked whether s/he could be more specific, what kicking and what for- there was silence.

When I pointed out that voting for a party with no particular record of achievement apart from not turning up at meetings in the European Parliament was not going to change much – guess what: the angry voter did not want to listen!

When I went on to say that voting for a party which had one simple answer (leave the EU; get rid of immigration) to all the problems in this world and it would probably end in tears and some years down the line the angry person would still be angry because s/he felt deceived by all politicians- what happened: the angry voter was getting angrier but still did not listen.

I have spent enough time on the door step with ‘ordinary’ people to know that most of those who want to ‘stop immigration’ and ‘leave the EU’ get themselves quickly into big knots. (Coincidently many of them are planning to emigrate to Australia) By the way UKIP sentiments aren’t exactly new. I have heard the same stuff for years when canvassing across my former constituency from 2007.

Even then I said beware of beginnings.  It is relatively easy to whip up discontent; I am sure everybody can come up with things to be angry about. It is dangerous when this whipped-up anger is matched with a scape goat (foreigner/stranger) and a simple way of solving the problem (get rid of the scape goat).

If there wasn’t the ‘UKIP factor’ most sensible politicians would not  listen to this mostly fabricated nonsense, but instead be worried about the implications, the growing appeal of this nonsense and think about how to stem it rather than play to it.

I simply don’t buy that most people I have met on the door step are so much worse off than me ‘the politician’ (until 2 days ago) that I don’t understand how they feel. Rubbish!

A lot of ‘angry’ people are spoiled and selfish who do not want to share in the wealth of our country. They don’t give two straws about the real poverty and real inequalities in this world. They have a diffuse frustration about their own lot in life and some misplaced idea about how wealthy and fortunate they would be if only there wasn’t such a thing called Europe and the people coming from it.  (Never mind about the rest of the world ; first things first)

And they are wrong!

So ‘politicians’: stop listening to this alarming, loud and seductive UKIP nonsense. Do the right thing and tell those people even if they seem to be growing in numbers (they don’t, they were always out there but a dangerous demagogue is using them for his own political end and they have simply started to shout louder because they are being encouraged), even if you want them to vote for you, tell them that they are wrong!

At last I got that off my chest! And anyway ‘speaking your mind’ and ‘saying it as it is’ works well for some politicians. Maybe I should get elected again.




  1. “”The people have spoken, the bastards.” –Dick Tuck’s concession speech following his loss in the 1966 California State Senate election.

    • I didn’t stand for election, because I am moving away from Rochdale, so I am not grumpy because I was not re-elected. I am saying that people have a diffuse sense of anger and a demagogue is selling them a simplistic solution which is not going to change anything about people’s lives and they will continue to feel deceived. Living in a global competitive multi cultural world with conflicting answers to its many problems is tough. Trying to run away from it by proposing to shut the borders, send people home and isolating yourself from what is going on elsewhere is an illusion in an international world where people can hop on a plane and get on with anything that is out there.

  2. Wera, part of the anger has been caused by the media and politicians attempting to bar any discussion about the immigration without being called racist. Immigration was never the problem. What upsets people is the lack of political willingness to encourage immigrants to assimilate into the British culture, as if their cultures are superior to that of Britain. How can you expect that this could continue apace? The electorate are slow to catch on, but they are getting there!

    • I agree that people who come into a new country should engage and become part of their new communities. I moved here from Germany 25 years ago and I wanted to do exactly that. Learning the language is part of it and indeed most people from Europe are very competent in English even before they come. If I may say the British have a poor record of learning other languages even if if they live abroad for many years. One rule for the British and another for foreigners? Hypocracy? What about the thousands of people who bought properties in Spain, enjoy the sunshine, get free Spanish healthcare and expect the local to speak English?

  3. I couldn’t have put it so well, but that’s exactly my experience talking to some people on the doorstep, too. I did tell them they were wrong, so we probably lost their votes (if we ever had them, which I doubt!)
    You should stand for election again!

  4. […] Former Councillor Wera Hobhouse from Rochdale has written very powerfully on this aspect. A taster follows amd you can read wera’s blog post in full here. […]

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