‘We don’t exist for them, do we?’: why people that are working-class for Brexit

‘We don’t exist for them, do we?’: why people that are working-class for Brexit

Estimated reading time: ten minutes

Lisa Mckenzie

Estimated reading time: ten minutes

Working-class individuals were more prone to vote for Brexit. Lisa Mckenzie (Middlesex University) takes problem using the idea why these individuals were ‘turkeys voting for Christmas’. They saw Brexit, with the uncertainties it might 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 June 2016. I’m sat in a cafГ© into the East End of London with two neighborhood ladies, ‘Sally’ – that is 23, has two small kids, and contains been from 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 kiddies 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 we also are dealing with most of the politics for the time, including footballer David Beckham’s present intervention within the debate: he’s got recently announced their support for the campaign that is remain. The ladies aren’t happy. The discussion goes:

‘What has that **** Beckham got to express about any of it Home Page?’

‘He hasn’t ever reached 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 if they want, it is not similar for all of us, I’ve been homeless now for 2 years.’

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

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

Ahead of the referendum, I’d been working together with a combined number of neighborhood working-class 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 throughout the last 12 years. These stories that are small usually appear unrelated into the big governmental debates associated with day, in the event that you don’t comprehend the context in their mind. Being a working-class woman, we appreciate the skill of storytelling: I’m sure that an account is not simply a tale. Its 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 analysis that is political favor of macro styles, 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) – I 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 ordinary sight.

Having gathered these narratives since 2005, we knew different things had been taking place all over referendum. The debates in pubs, cafes, nail pubs, plus the hairdressers in working-class communities seemed infectious. Everyone was interested, and argued in regards to 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 working course individuals like ‘Sally’ therefore the other ladies, the debates had been centred upon the constant battle of one’s own everyday lives, in addition they connected those battles with their mothers’ and grandmothers’ hardships, but also for their children’s future. They saw hope that is little life would be fairer for them. The referendum had been a point that is turning the ladies in eastern London. That they had maybe perhaps maybe not voted into the 2015 General Election: that they had small interest or faith in a governmental system seated just three miles 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, I inquired her if she thought things would alter for the higher when we had been to Brexit. She stated she didn’t understand, and didn’t care. She simply couldn’t stand things being exactly the same.

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