Why did Labour core voters turn to Farage not Robespierre?

By Michael Burton | 21 September 2016
  • Michael Burton

Back in February 1969 the then Conservative Party leader Edward Heath made a tour of Jarrow in the North East. Looking at the ‘acres of slums’ he remarked to his driver that if he lived there he wouldn’t vote for the Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson and in fact ‘nor would I vote for myself.’ Asked whom he would vote for if he lived in Jarrow he replied: ‘Robespierre.’*

In the 2015 General Election the second largest party in Jarrow after Labour was UKIP with almost 20% of the vote even though Jarrow’s population is 97% white British. The left-wing Trade Union and Socialist Coalition received just 1% of the vote. In the EU referendum South Tyneside, of which Jarrow is now a part, voted Leave as did the North East as a region.

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