‘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 aided by the idea why these social individuals were ‘turkeys voting for Christmas’. They saw Brexit, with all the current uncertainties it might bring, instead of the status quo. Austerity and de-industrialisation has had a heavy toll on working-class communities – one which the middle-class usually does not grasp.

It’s 22 June 2016. 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 household 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 young ones and grandchildren had recently relocated from the area and into Essex due to the not enough a home that is affordable. It’s the afternoon prior to the EU referendum, so we are speaing frankly about all of the politics for the time, including footballer David Beckham’s present intervention into the debate: he’s got recently declared his support when it comes to 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 concern yourself with where he could be likely to live, unless it’s which house.’

‘Well him and Posh can get and live where they need if they want, it’s different 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 experienced been working together with group of neighborhood working-class both https://loansolution.com/payday-loans-al/ women and men in London’s East End included in ‘The Great British Class Survey’ during the LSE. We have gathered a huge selection of tales about working-class life within the last few four years when you look at the East End, and thousands during the last 12 years. These little tales can usually appear unrelated to your big governmental debates of this time, in the event that you don’t realize the context in their mind. Being a woman that is working-class we appreciate the skill of storytelling: i am aware that a tale is not simply a story. It really is employed by working-class visitors to explain who they really are, where they arrive from, and where they belong. These tiny tales are way too usually missed in wider analysis that is political favor of macro styles, that has usually meant that the poorest individuals in the united kingdom get unrepresented.

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

Fortunately – as an ethnographer, a working-class educational, the child of the Nottinghamshire striking miner, and hosiery factory worker (and I also have actually lived in council housing for many 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 can be hidden to a lot of, but stay in simple 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. Individuals were interested, and argued concerning the finer points regarding the EU, but additionally made wider points about where energy rested in the UK, making links between the 2. But, for many class that is working like ‘Sally’ therefore the other females, the debates had been centred upon the constant challenge of one’s own everyday lives, in addition they connected those battles with their moms’ and grandmothers’ hardships, but additionally with 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 maybe not voted into the 2015 General Election: that they had small interest or faith in a governmental system seated only 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 for the 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 stated she didn’t understand, and didn’t care. She simply couldn’t stay things being exactly the same.

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