‘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 minutes

Working-class everyone was almost certainly going to vote for Brexit. Lisa Mckenzie (Middlesex University) takes problem with all the idea why these individuals were ‘turkeys voting for Christmas’. They saw Brexit, with the uncertainties it can bring, as an option to the status quo. De-industrialisation and austerity has had a heavy toll on working-class communities – one which the middle-class usually does not grasp.

It’s 22 2016 june. I’m sat in a cafГ© within the East End of London with two local ladies, ‘Sally’ – that is 23, has two young children, and it has been in the council house waiting list for four years, along side over 19,000 others – and Anne, that is in her own sixties and calls herself a ‘proper Eastender’. Her kids and grandchildren had recently relocated out from the area and into Essex due to the not enough an inexpensive house. It’s the afternoon prior to the EU referendum, and now we are dealing with all of the politics regarding the time, including footballer David Beckham’s present intervention into the debate: he’s got recently announced their support for the stay campaign. The ladies aren’t pleased. The discussion goes:

‘What has that **** Beckham got to express about that?’

‘He hasn’t ever surely got to worry about where he could be likely 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 people, I’ve been homeless now for 2 years.’

‘We don’t exist in their mind, do we?’

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

Ahead of the referendum, I experienced been dealing with team of regional working-class gents and ladies in London’s East End as an element of ‘The Great British Class Survey’ during the LSE. I have gathered a huge selection of tales about working-class life within the last few four years into the East End, and thousands throughout the last 12 years. These little tales can usually appear unrelated to your big governmental debates associated with time, in the event that you don’t comprehend the context for them. Being a working-class woman, we appreciate the skill of storytelling: i am aware that an account is not simply a tale. It really is employed by working-class visitors to explain who they really are, where they come from, and where they belong. These tiny tales are way too usually missed in wider political analysis in favor of macro styles, that has frequently meant that the poorest individuals in the united kingdom get unrepresented.

Waxwork David and Victoria Beckham at Madame Tussauds. Picture: 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 have lived in council housing for some of my entire life) – we rarely concentrate on the macro. My entire life and could work is rooted within working-class communities; my focus and my politics are about exposing those inequalities which are hidden to a lot of, but stay in ordinary sight.

Having gathered these narratives since 2005, we knew different things ended up being occurring round the referendum. The debates in bars, cafes, nail pubs, additionally the hairdressers in working-class communities seemed infectious. Everyone was interested, and argued in regards to the finer points regarding the EU, but in addition made wider points about where energy rested in the UK, links that are making the 2. Nevertheless, for the majority of working course individuals like ‘Sally’ in addition to other females, the debates were centred upon the constant challenge of one’s own life, and so they connected those battles for their moms’ and grandmothers’ hardships, but in addition for their children’s future. They saw small hope that life would become fairer for them. The referendum had been a switching point for the ladies https://loansolution.com/payday-loans-co/ in eastern London. That they had perhaps perhaps maybe not voted when you look at 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 first-time to go out of, I inquired her if she thought things would alter for the greater whenever we had been to Brexit. She stated she didn’t understand, and didn’t care. She simply couldn’t stay things being similar.

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