Judgement was on my mind today as I watched Huddersfield Labour MP Barry Sheerman on The Sunday Politics. He said
"The truth is that when you look at who voted to Remain most of them were the better educated people in this country."
At one point the exasperated BBC Interviewer said "So thick people voted for Leave?"
Barry's defence was a bit feeble "I didn't say that". No he didn't but he did!
The problem with referencing voters level of Education when looking at how people vote is that there is an implication that if you had your way that only people who had the right qualifications should be allowed to vote. Of course Barry Sheerman would rightly protest that this is not what he believes but then you would have to question his judgement at strongly making the link between education and the political choices voters make in the first place. There is an implied disrespect for those people with no or low qualifications. These are some of the people who may even have voted Labour and for him at the last General Election.
The facts are that there is a strong correlation between those people who voted Remain and educational attainment but so what? One of the many failures of the Remain Campaign was in not making its message accessible enough to convince a wide range of voters whatever OLevels/GCSE'/A Levels/Degrees they acheived. The Leave campaigns success was in making a difficult subject accessible to many different sorts of people. Admittedly it was misleading them but then their arguments were accessible nonetheless. Where is our £350 million/week extra for the NHS btw?
Education and Brexit featured in the Daily Mail this week as well. I was reading a copy in the Dentist and came across the headline "In their own telling words. How Academics push Remain propaganda". My admittedly glib tweet in response was " In other words why do people who know stuff oppose Brexit?". It also sinisterly asked students to 'shop' lecturers who may be 'guilty' of such 'crimes'. I guess the Mail would regard them as 'Enemies of the People'. Here we are seeing a strange education snobbery in reverse where the contempt for 'the Intellectual' and 'the Expert' is regarded as legitimate. For someone who favours moderate language in politics I find it hard not to make links between the Daily Mail and Fascism on frequent occasions.
So education snobbery was everywhere this week. If you were educated your views were suspect to the Daily Mail. If you were uneducated your views may be less valid than if you were educated to Barry Sheerman. Ultimately whether you are a politician or a voter the choices you make are all about judgement and weighing up the pros and the cons. The job of politicans is not to judge the voters but to give them the information that they need to make sound judgements themselves.
Here's Pink Floyd - Another Brick In The Wall - "We don't need no education etc...."