Before the voting in the referendum began on Thursday last you could have got odds of 9 to 1 against Britain leaving the EU, so certain was everybody, including the pollsters who had recorded only a mild surge in the Leavers’ direction. However, almost as soon as the first results were announced — Newcastle, and then Sunderland — it was apparent that the unexpected was happening. In the latter city, an expected 6% lead had actually become 22%.
Psephologists and other specialists who’ll mull over the results minutely for months to come, really ought to start thinking seriously about London. Whereas all eight of the other regions of the country voted 52% to 48% in favour of leaving, London’s figures were the other way round — and then some! — 30% to 70%. London has a culture and an economy all of its own. It is compatible with other city-states around the world, whether involved in services or manufacturing — New York, Dubai, Shenzhen, Los Angeles, Shanghai, etc — rather than the rest of england.
As nation-state governments increasingly run into difficulties and lack of credibility among their electorates, are city-states the next phase? This is quite possible — probable in my opinion. Kenichi Ohmae forecast this phenomenon 40 years ago. This suggests the modern advanced world taking on the form of 40 or 50 city-states around the world replacing the dozen or so advanced nation-states of today. If so, what about the regions of a much lower standard of living surrounding each city-state? Will they become environmental leisure regions for city-state workers? It’s an intriguing question.