Advertisement

Birmingham 'at odds with itself' after EU referendum result

This multicultural city feels unsettled – at odds with itself – new fault lines are appearing and they are not the traditional fault lines the politicians were ready for or the citizens were expecting.

Birmingham had one of the closest votes in the country: for every person who voted Leave there was pretty much another who voted Remain here.

Joining passengers on a bus in Perry Barr, the talk is all referendum and the majority of passengers are from Black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds. For most of them, including the Asian driver, it was the issue of immigration that drove them to vote leave because of pressure on local services.

For those who voted remain, it was a vote of confidence in the status quo.

This Birmingham bus driver voted 'Leave' because the UK is 'a small country'. Credit: ITV News
This woman on the bus said she voted 'Leave' because of immigration. Credit: ITV News
One Birmingham bus passenger said some people were regretting voting 'Leave'. Credit: ITV News

At the nearby Birmingham City University, there was almost unanimous support for remain and complete despair at the direction this diverse bustling city has taken. Not only do they receive millions in research funding, the city council gets several million pounds of EU money for job creation.

Unlike yesterday in the town of Mansfield where the majority voted out and there was optimism and anti-establishment anger, in Birmingham I found the optimism of the leave winners tempered here by the open regret of the remain losers.

Birmingham feels like a place that’s lost confidence rather than gained it.

A city which has discovered - at the ballot box – that it isn’t quite the place it thought it was.