‘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 full minutes

Working-class individuals were prone to vote for Brexit. Lisa Mckenzie (Middlesex University) takes issue using the idea why these social individuals were ‘turkeys voting for Christmas’. They saw Brexit, with all the current uncertainties it can bring, instead of the status quo. De-industrialisation and austerity has brought a heavy toll on working-class communities – one which the middle-class usually doesn’t grasp.

It’s 22 June 2016. I’m sat in a cafГ© when you look at the East End of London with two regional females, ‘Sally’ – that is 23, has two small kids, and has now been regarding the council household waiting list for four years, along side over 19,000 other folks – and Anne, who’s inside her 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 home. It’s your day ahead of the EU referendum, so we are speaking about all of the politics associated with the time, including footballer David Beckham’s present intervention within 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 concerning this?’

‘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 go and live where they need once they want, it is not similar for all of us, I’ve been homeless now for just two years.’

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

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

Prior to the referendum, I experienced been working together with a combined band of regional working-class people in London’s East End as an element of ‘The Great British Class Survey’ during the LSE. We have collected hundreds of tales about working-class life within the last four years into the East End, and thousands over the past 12 years. These little stories can usually appear unrelated into the big governmental debates of this time, in the event that you don’t comprehend the context in their mind. As a woman that is working-class we appreciate the skill of storytelling: i understand that a tale is not simply a tale. It really is employed by working-class visitors to explain who they are, where they arrive from, and where they belong. These little tales are way too usually missed in wider governmental analysis in favor of macro trends, 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 with a CC-BY-NC-SA 2.0 licence

Fortunately – as an ethnographer, a working-class academic, the child of a Nottinghamshire striking miner, and hosiery factory worker (and I also have actually resided in council housing for many of my entire 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 a lot of, but stay in ordinary sight.

Having gathered these narratives since 2005, we knew different things ended up being taking place all over referendum. The debates in bars, cafes, nail pubs, therefore the hairdressers in working-class communities seemed infectious. Everyone was interested, and argued in regards to the finer points of this EU, but in addition made broader points about where energy rested in the UK, making links between the 2. But, for https://maxloan.org/payday-loans-ny/ some class that is working like ‘Sally’ plus the other females, the debates had been centred upon the constant challenge of one’s own everyday lives, plus they connected those struggles with their mothers’ 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 switching point for the ladies in east London. That they had maybe perhaps perhaps not voted into 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 constant attention. When ‘Sally’ told me she would definitely utilize her vote for the first-time to go out of, I inquired her if she thought things would alter for the greater whenever we were to Brexit. She stated she didn’t understand, and didn’t care. She just couldn’t stay things being the exact same.