In this TED2019 talk, British investigative journalist Carole Cadwalladr digs into one of the most perplexing events in recent times: the UK’s super-close 2016 vote to leave the European Union.
Following is the full text of the presentation talk in Vancouver.
So, on the day after the Brexit vote, in June 2016, when Britain woke up to the shock of discovering that we’re leaving the European Union, my editor at the “Observer” newspaper in the UK asked me to go back to South Wales, where I grew up, and to write a report.
And so I went to a town called Ebbw Vale. Here it is. It’s in the South Wales Valleys, which is this quite special place. So it’s had this very, sort of rich, working-class culture, and it’s famous for its Welsh male voice choirs and rugby and its coal.
But when I was a teenager, the coal mines and the steelworks closed, and the entire area was devastated. And I went there because it had one of the highest “Leave” votes in the country. Sixty-two percent of the people here voted to leave the European Union. And I wanted to know why.
When I got there, I was just a bit taken aback, because the last time I went to Ebbw Vale, it looked like this.
And now, it looks like this. This is a new 33-million-pound college of further education that was mostly funded by the European Union. And this is the new sports center that’s at the middle of 350-million-pound regeneration project that’s being funded by the European Union.
And this is the new 77-million-pound road-improvement scheme, and there’s a new train line, a new railway station, and they’re all being funded by the European Union. And it’s not as if any of this is a secret, because there’s big signs like this everywhere.