Most people working in the City and the broader field of financial and professionals services supported Remain in the June 2016 referendum.
There isn’t much City-specific polling to back this up, but since possessing a degree, living in London and working in a profession are all demographic attributes associated with an increased likelihood to have voted Remain, it’s a fair assumption.
If you consider your sector, company, office or even your train carriage on the morning commute, you’d probably feel confident that Remain was the dominant inclination. Dominant, but not exclusive. The existence of a firm, albeit modest, strand of support for Brexit among the City’s professional class was one of the reasons why this newspaper didn’t fall into line and endorse the Remain campaign.
Indeed, our referendum day City View made the case that there was no risk-free option on the ballot. If a Leave vote heralded uncertainty, we argued, a Remain vote would have been taken in certain EU capitals as approval of what is now the Macron manifesto: further integration, more EU.
Now, 20 months on from the vote, many in the City who did vote Leave are still choosing to keep quiet about having done so.
To out oneself as a Leave voter is still, in the eyes of some, to align oneself with the ignorant and the nostalgic. Another sector where being a Brexit supporter is frowned upon, to put it mildly, is academia.
Now, however, Brexit-backing academics are coming out of the closet. Graham Gudgin of the Judge Business School at Cambridge and Robert Tombs, emeritus professor of French history at Cambridge, have launched a new online platform where academics or other professionals can discuss their reasons for voting Leave, and engage in ideas for Britain’s post-Brexit future.
Their mission statement says “there is a prevailing media view that all sensible and informed people oppose Brexit… This simply is not true.”
A host of high-profile and respected figures have joined their crusade, including leading academics from Oxford, the LSE and King’s College London – as well as lawyers, scientists and former diplomats. Not every Brexit-backer in the Square Mile will have the inclination or ability to participate in the project, but it would be a great thing if some of you did.