In Cambridge, where I live and work, 74% voted to Remain in the EU, while 26% voted Leave. In Stoke-on-Trent, the respective figures were 31% Remain, 69% Leave. My friends and academic colleagues were astonished by the results from places like Stoke.
I wasn’t — because I know Stoke well. My late wife Sue came from there and my parents-in-law still lived there, so I spent a lot of time in the city and so saw at close hand how it had been devastated by globalisation, automation and central (and local) government neglect.
A few days ago I read Dominic Cummings’s astonishing account of the Brexit campaign, and afterwards started digging back into pre-referendum coverage. In the process I came on this remarkable video made by John Harris in Stoke-on-Trent. From my knowledge of the city, it’s spot on. And Harris is right — the video also illustrates the depth of the problem that the Labour party now faces in UK politics.
UPDATE And no sooner had I posted this than the news broke that Tristram Hunt, the improbable Labour MP for Stoke Central constituency, has been appointed Director of the V&A Museum and so will resign his seat. Which means there will now be a by-election in Stoke.