It is time for us to stop.
We must stop blaming the working classes for the Brexit vote, unite the people and direct our anger at lying politicians.
I am an angry Remain voter. I have a strong pro-migrant political stance, fervently believe in open borders, and strongly disagree with anxieties about migration. My anger, though, is aimed at the deceitful leaders of the referendum campaigns, rather than the politically and socially marginalised.
YouGov polls showed working class people and older people as the primary Leave voters, whilst the young, and especially graduates, overwhelming voted Remain. We have the right to be angry and as a young person, I am angry that people of older generations have made a decision conflicting with ours, as it is our future, not theirs. However, we must stop vilifying those who voted Leave from the Labour heartland of Northern provincial towns. A vote which has been a long time coming, a vote as a reaction against the Establishment.
Leave lied and Remain was uninspiring: the EU referendum was presented in a confused mess, a complicated system of politics that even Politics students can barely understand, never mind the politically marginalised or indifferent.
We seem to forget these peoples’ positions, where the political elites have ignored their pleas for decades, from Margaret Thatcher’s campaign against the trade unions to David Cameron’s cuts to welfare and public services. They have been left vulnerable with nowhere to turn. Vulnerable to manipulation by the ‘Leave’ campaign, and our tabloid media’s sensationalist coverage of migration.
The political elites refuse to own up to their mistakes or apologise. Instead, they present new scapegoats to the public for the masses to blame. Working class Leave voters have been taken advantage of by a self-interested political class who were happy to play on their fears. Their demagoguery, this web of lies, spun by the Leave campaign is where young Remain voters should be directing their anger.
A significant proportion of the Leave vote came from traditional Labour-supporting areas. The Remain campaign argued to stay as we are or risk uncertainty. However, for the working classes this argument is feeble, why would they vote to keep things as they are when they are already so marginalised? The Leave campaign successfully redirected the anti-establishment sentiment – which has gripped British politics – towards the EU. They managed to frame the socio-economic pressures felt by the poorer in society as a problem primarily caused by immigration, and not the rampant cuts, low wages and soaring house prices supported by the Conservative government.
— POLITICO Europe (@POLITICOEurope) June 24, 2016
The Referendum was flooded with mis-information, full of scare-stories and ‘post-factual’ politics; it was a disgrace to our democracy. The whole political debate surrounding the referendum was a mess. It was an in-fight between the political classes, who had little interest in engaging and informing the entirity of the public with the full truth, but spread propaganda to fuel their own ambitions. This attitude, however, is not new. For decades politicians have lied to us, made promises and broke them, and we all know it, yet they continue to get away with it. Now, though, we’re chanelling our collective frustration in the wrong place: we are blaming the Leave voters for the mess politicians have created.
The media has little influence on people’s political affiliations, people being more likely to filter what they read according to their political position. However, when it comes to things people are confused about and do not already have a firm stance on, they can be much more easily swayed, and this is where the Leave campaign and the tabloid press have betrayed this country. Those in a fortunate position, able to analyse information critically – for example, graduates – overwhelmingly voted remain, while those more susceptible to the leave campaign’s propaganda and scaremongering, voted leave.
How can we shout down the voices of the working classes and their choices when no one presented the necessary information clearly enough? When politics is presented to people in the complex forms that it is, how can we blame them for falling for propaganda about immigrants ‘stealing our jobs’? And how is the situation helped by us mocking and hating a group of people also mocked and hated by the elites? A significant proportion of Remain voters were left-wing themselves, and their vitriol toward the lower classes is ironic.
— Luetin (@Luetin09) June 25, 2016
As horrific the phrase “let’s take back our country” is, the irony is that that is exactly what the working class have done. But in a different context to taking it back from migrants, they have taken it back from politicians like those of the Remain campaign who underestimated their democratic power. Historically, politicians have not truly listened to the public or believed they had the power to overthrow them, they made empty promises and manipulated democracy and the people. Politicians have alienated the people from politics, with the turnout in general elections steadily but drastically lowering in recent years. But with a turnout of 72 per cent at this referendum, the public have shown that they do have power. By going against elite officials, experts and the majority of what politicians wanted: a remain vote, the public have proven their relevance. The working classes have demonstrated they are not powerless, they will no longer be ignored, and in their large numbers still have the power to go against the Establishment, and middle classes.
Britain is now split down the middle, as are the dominant political parties. Remain or Leave, we should not distance ourselves from each other through hatred, but join in the fight against the establishment. Leave promised £350 million to the NHS, but Nigel Farage now says their populist pledge will no longer materialise. Tory leave campaigner Daniel Hannan has also admitted that leaving the EU may not even stop leave voter’s unwanted migration. Then the leave campaign website wiped its homepage of statistics and information. If they don’t deliver on their promises, Leave and Remain voters must unite to vote the current government out and vote in a government that will fulfil its promises.
The public need to ensure we get what the democratic result promised us.