Pub quiz: Do voters think Brexit can still fix Britain?

There's now only a year left before Brexit - which will be the most significant economic and constitutional change to the UK since 1 January 1973, when this country joined the Common Market, as the European Union was then called.

To mark this looming new chapter in this island's history, I went to a part of the UK which voted unambiguously to leave the EU; the towns of Stockton, Redcar, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough, which collectively and proudly call themselves Teesside.

What I wanted to ask Teessiders - for my ITV Tonight documentary, "Can Brexit Fix Britain?" - was why they voted for Brexit, and what they think of it now?

I encountered a series of paradoxes - and you can get a taste of those from my chat in the pub with Pete, Paul, Tony and Gareth (which you can watch below).

For example - and this won't surprise you, because it was such a theme all over Britain - concerns about unfettered migration from the EU came up time and again as a motive for voting Brexit.

And yet this is a part of the UK where immigration from the EU and the rest of the world is relatively low (in the North East as a whole, just 1.8% of the population is from the rest of the EU, compared with 13.4% for London). In fact the population of this region has been falling, as many of the indigenous population move away to look for work.

Teesside has one of the UK's lowest immigrant populations. Credit: ITV Tonight

Also, even among those who voted to leave, there is a recognition that much of what has gone wrong in the region - and in particular the widely lamented collapse of the manufacturing businesses that delivered prosperity here for a century - had almost nothing to do with membership of the EU.

They recognise - correctly - that this long-term economic decline should much more properly be delayed at the door of successive British governments, for their absent or inadequate industrial strategies.

So why did they want to kick the EU?

Leave voter Paul Randall said the EU was targeted by association. Credit: ITV Tonight

Well I got one compelling answer, in the pub, from Paul: "We're so angry with our government that we’re probably just angry with the EU now as well [or] anyone who even associates with our government."

What was equally striking is that Teessiders are not starry eyed about Brexit: many accepted that leaving could cause them some pain - as for a few years at least living standards are being squeezed by the fall in the value of the pound, and prospects are worsening for exporters dependent on frictionless, costless access to the EU's giant market.

The continuing decline of local industry has put many out of work in the region. Credit: ITV Tonight

But many Teessiders take it for granted that politicians understand that the Brexit vote was a shout by them to be ignored no longer.

They are confident that at long last they'll receive the support from Westminster they need to rediscover hope in a more prosperous future - even though as of today no such succour has been forthcoming.

And did they have any regrets about voting to leave? I encountered no one prepared to say they made a mistake.

In fact, for both Teesside's Leave and Remain supporters, almost the only thing that surprised and united them is that more than a year after voting to end EU membership, there is still a year left before that Brexit apotheosis.

Can Brexit Fix Britain? - Tonight airs at 7.30pm on ITV