Opinion by The Stand's Lee Kyle

BEFORE I ever did a gig in Glasgow, I’d heard the stories. The stories about how English comedians were like balls of wool and the Glasgow audience were like cats, toying with us as though we were mice before pouncing on us once your fun was had.

It’s not true, of course – people are people, and Glasgow audiences are broadly the same as audiences in any predominantly working-class city. They’ve paid money and they want to have a nice time.

I may well have an advantage though, in that I’m from Tyne and Wear rather than Oxfordshire or London. There’s a certain kinship between the north of England and Scotland, I suppose, in that I’m not sure we feel English and people in the south can’t understand a word we say either.

There are differences, though. Glasgow strikes me as being more like Liverpool than it does Newcastle. All three are cities with a proud industrial heritage that were left to fester during and after Thatcherism, the difference to me seems to be that Newcastle has a feeling of defeat about it that Glasgow and Liverpool don’t.

We are a people who aren’t happy with how things are but have (understandably) given up – we don’t like what our bosses say but we’d better put up with it. In 2004, the north-east was the first region of England to vote to see if we wanted a regional assembly. There was only 48% turnout and almost 78% voted no. I don’t remember there being particular fervour either way.

As a result, there were no further referendums on regional assemblies. Now, imagine if the first vote had gone to Liverpool? If the north-east had followed significant “Yes” votes in Liverpool and Cornwall, it could have been a different story.

It doesn’t escape my notice that there is a great debate at the moment about another independence vote in Scotland. I’m not going to get into that as it’s none of my business (the only reasonable view for someone not Scottish, really) other than to say that at least it’d be a referendum with strong feelings either way about something that matters.

READ MORE: Jamie MacDonald: Being blind hasn’t stopped me finding a career I love

Yep, Brexit.

Now, Brexit matters – of course – but I’m really not convinced many people actually cared about it until they made us. It’s an issue that has been crucial to Tory MPs and the odd newspaper magnate for as long as I can remember but, in terms of actual people, it was broadly an issue discussed in pubs but only by the bloke you don’t want to sit with, and obsessed over by cranks in southern coastal towns who weren’t comfortable with immigration for reasons they like to pretend are legitimate.

But now? Now? Oh, we all have to have strong opinions about it now don’t we? Even if that opinion is that you are sick of hearing about it. Of course you are, everyone is. They’ve made us care about a thing that they are obsessed with and they’ve made everything seem awful.

I’ve heard people say that there was a huge demand for a vote on leaving the EU based on the popularity of Ukip, but this popularity was based on a small number of single-interest fringe groups. Oh, and also whoever books guests for political programmes on the BBC.

If there’d been no vote in 2016, if David Cameron had never mentioned the possibility of having one, I find it hard to believe that there’d be a massive growing public groundswell for one now.

But there was, wasn’t there? Thanks David. Even if you are into leaving the EU (there are great, non-immigration based arguments – if you’re a socialist for example) you should be as furious as any Remainer that he did this on little more than a whim designed to strengthen his leadership.

They know, by the way. The Tory voters. They know that they’re the baddies.

I remember doing a gig in Chipping Norton, where David Cameron lives and was, at the time, the prime minister and their MP. The audience laughed at the very idea that they might be working class (most audiences claim to be working class wherever you go, in case you think they may be outliers). They were very nice people and big laughers except when they couldn’t understand my accent on one punchline.

The opening act was doing a routine about serial killers and asked if anyone if the crowd had a favourite one. For a couple of minutes they volunteered answers. Later on, the compere asked who in the room voted Conservative and nobody owned up. Nobody. In a room of about 200 people where, statistically, 116 of them did.

So, even in the absolute bedrock of the Conservative Party that is the Cotswolds, it’s still less acceptable to be a fan of David Cameron than it is to be a fan of Jeffrey Dahmer.

It’s not for me to say if that’s a reasonable viewpoint ... maybe we should have a referendum?