‘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 everyone was almost certainly going to vote for Brexit. Lisa Mckenzie (Middlesex University) takes problem aided by the idea why these individuals were ‘turkeys voting for Christmas’ https://maxloan.org/payday-loans-in/. They saw Brexit, with all the current uncertainties it might 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 frequently doesn’t grasp.

It’s 22 2016 june. I’m sat in a cafГ© within the East End of London with two regional females, ‘Sally’ – that is 23, has two small children, and it has been regarding the council home waiting list for four years, along with over 19,000 other folks – 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 a single day ahead of the EU referendum, and now we are speaking about all of the politics associated with 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 delighted. The discussion goes:

‘What has that **** Beckham got to state about it?’

‘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 if they want, it is not similar for people, I’ve been homeless now for just two years.’

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

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

Prior to the referendum, I experienced been working together with team of neighborhood working-class people 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 four years into the East End, and thousands throughout the last 12 years. These tiny tales can frequently appear unrelated to your big governmental debates regarding the time, in the event that you don’t understand the context in their mind. As a woman that is working-class 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 show up from, and where they belong. These tiny tales are way too frequently missed in wider governmental analysis in favor of macro trends, which includes usually meant that the poorest individuals in the united kingdom get unrepresented.

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

Fortunately – as an ethnographer, a working-class educational, the child of a Nottinghamshire striking miner, and hosiery factory worker (and I also have actually resided 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 numerous, but stay in ordinary sight.

Having gathered these narratives since 2005, we knew different things ended up being occurring across the referendum. The debates in bars, cafes, nail pubs, therefore the hairdressers in working-class communities seemed infectious. Everyone was interested, and argued concerning the finer points regarding the EU, but additionally made broader points about where energy rested in the UK, making links between the 2. Nonetheless, for many class that is working like ‘Sally’ and also the other women, the debates had been centred upon the constant battle of one’s own life, in addition they connected those battles with their moms’ and grandmothers’ hardships, but in addition to 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. That they had 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 miles away whenever their daily and instant situation required constant attention. When ‘Sally’ told me she would definitely make use of her vote when it comes to first-time to go out of, I asked her if she thought things would alter for the better whenever we had been to Brexit. She said she didn’t understand, and didn’t care. She simply couldn’t stay things being the exact same.

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