‘We don’t exist for them, do we?’: why working-class individuals voted for Brexit

‘We don’t exist for them, do we?’: why working-class individuals voted for Brexit

Estimated reading time: ten minutes

Lisa Mckenzie

Estimated reading time: ten full minutes

Working-class individuals were almost certainly going to vote for Brexit. Lisa Mckenzie (Middlesex University) takes issue aided by the idea why these individuals were ‘turkeys voting for Christmas’. They saw Brexit, with all the current uncertainties it could bring, as an option to the status quo. Austerity and de-industrialisation has brought a heavy toll on working-class communities – one which the middle-class frequently doesn’t grasp.

It’s 22 2016 june. I’m sat in a cafГ© within the East End of London with two regional ladies, ‘Sally’ – that is 23, has two young children, and has now been regarding the council home waiting list for four years, along side over 19,000 other individuals – and Anne, that is inside her sixties and calls herself a ‘proper Eastender’. Her kids and grandchildren had recently relocated from the area and into Essex due to the not enough a home that is affordable. It’s your day ahead of the EU referendum, so we are dealing with most of the politics regarding the day, including footballer David Beckham’s present intervention within the debate: he’s got recently announced their support when it comes to campaign that is remain. The ladies aren’t delighted. The discussion goes:

‘What has that **** Beckham got to express relating to this?’

‘He hasn’t ever surely got to concern yourself with where he could be planning to live, unless it’s which house.’

‘Well him and Posh can get and live where they desire once they want, it is not similar for all of us, I’ve been homeless now for just two years.’

‘We don’t exist for them, do we?’

‘Well most of us ******* who don’t occur are voting out tomorrow’.

Ahead of the referendum, I’d been working together with number of neighborhood working-class gents and ladies in London’s East End included in ‘The Great British Class Survey’ during the LSE. I’ve gathered a huge selection of tales about working-class life within the last four years when you look at the East End, and thousands throughout the last 12 years. These tiny tales can frequently appear unrelated towards the big governmental debates for the time, in the event that you don’t realize the context for them. As being a working-class woman, we appreciate the art of storytelling: i understand that a tale is not simply an account. It really is employed by working-class visitors to explain who they really are, where they arrive from, and where they belong. These tiny stories are way too frequently missed in wider political analysis in favor of macro styles, which includes frequently meant that the poorest individuals in the united kingdom get unrepresented.

Waxwork David and Victoria Beckham at Madame Tussauds. Photo: Cesar Pics with a CC-BY-NC-SA 2.0 licence

Fortunately – as an ethnographer, a working-class scholastic, the child of a Nottinghamshire striking miner, and hosiery factory worker (and I also have actually resided in council housing for some of my life) – we rarely concentrate on the macro. My entire life and might work is rooted within working-class communities; my focus and my politics are about exposing those inequalities which are hidden to numerous, but stay in simple sight.

Having gathered these narratives since 2005, I knew different things had been taking place all over referendum. The debates in bars, cafes, nail pubs, as well as the hairdressers in working-class communities seemed infectious. Individuals were interested, and argued concerning the finer points associated with EU, but in addition made wider points about where energy rested in the UK, links that are making the 2. But, for the majority of working course individuals like ‘Sally’ and the other females, the debates had been centred upon the constant battle of these very own life, plus they connected those battles for their site hyperlink moms’ and grandmothers’ hardships, but additionally for their children’s future. They saw small hope that life would be fairer for them. The referendum had been a point that is turning the ladies in eastern London. They’d perhaps maybe perhaps not voted within the 2015 General Election: that they had small interest or faith in a governmental system seated just three kilometers away whenever their day-to-day and instant situation required attention that is constant. When ‘Sally’ told me she would definitely make use of her vote when it comes to very first time to go out of, we asked her if she thought things would alter for the higher whenever we had been to Brexit. She said she didn’t understand, and didn’t care. She just couldn’t stay things being the exact same.

Updated: 14 июля, 2021 — 3:46 пп
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