I’ve already written several angry and sweary social media posts this morning, so I will try my best for this to be neither – no promises though.
I’m obviously writing this in the aftermath of the Leave vote in the British referendum – a result that has genuinely devastated me and so this post is an attempt to clear my own thoughts on the subject.
The first thing I want to state quite clearly is: Not in my name. I didn’t vote for this and I don’t agree with it. I think it is not only the wrong decision to have made, but the wrong message to send to the rest of the world, but also, more importantly, our children.
We have said to the world that we want to leave and be on our own. We don’t want to work together, but we want to ‘take back’ our country. Take it back to where, to do what with it exactly?
In my social media posts I squarely put the blame on the shoulders of anyone that voted Leave – I still do. But I also had some replies that told me it was democracy in action and that we shouldn’t blame ‘the people’. On top of that I listened to the radio this morning and the voices of some of ‘the people’ who voted Leave.
Listening to the voice on the radio it seems that for lots of people this vote was a protest vote, a sense of ‘things can’t get any worse, so let’s change the one thing we can change’.
So the austerity cuts that have hit this country hard, and pockets of this country even harder have caused many people to feel so negative that they have voted to leave an organisation that pumps millions of pounds back into regeneration projects for those generations. The Tory leadership that wanted us to stay in Europe was also the Tory leadership that was so determined to inflict austerity on us.
I still blame those that voted Leave, but I blame the Tories too.
And while we had the Tories screaming about austerity, then trying to weakly defend Europe where was Labour? In fighting and weak leadership caused them to hand the general election to the Conservatives (and hasten austerity), even weaker leadership and ineffectual campaigning meant that they could rouse, or persuade, or explain to their core followers what this vote was really about.
I still blame those that voted Leave, but I blame Labour too.
One of the other elements of this vote that has been widely reported in the media is the age split of the vote. In simplistic terms, the older you are the more likely you were to vote Leave. More and more we are turning into a country that doesn’t understand the demographic fortune (or misfortune) that different generations are born into. We seem to be a country where those that were born into demographic misfortune are just told to work harder and suffer through it by those that were born into demographic fortune. We seemed to willingly believe the lie that those that were born into demographic fortune have got there by their own hard work and skill alone. And if you don’t believe that this is the case just look at house prices and the way they have risen in relation to average wages. The baby boomer generation all bought houses with relative ease; their kids struggled to do so, but have houses, even if some of them have negative equity or crippling mortgages; while the grandkids of the baby boomers are likely to be a generation of renters.
I still blame those that voted Leave, but I blame the older generation too that have forgotten the demographic fortune they were born into.
And as for the taking back our country bit. It seems that we believed the lie that an unelected elite from Europe rules us. Instead we have returned power to the British government that is predominantly made up of white, upper middle class, privately educated men – if that’s not an ‘elite’ then what is? On top of that, but with David Cameron’s resignation we will shortly have a new Prime Minister that certainly hasn’t been voted in by the electorate.
As far as I am concerned this is a sad day for this country.