Sunday, 26 June 2016

The Referendum- a Working Class Revolt? No.

I've read lots of explanations of the Referendum result... Old v Young, Precariat v Salariat, a working class revolt against the political establishment...
However most of the people I know who voted Leave are old and affluent or working and affluent, none of them voted out of insecurity-what they have in common is that they read right wing newspapers and have a low level of engagement in politics. (No-one voting Leave talked to me about democratic deficits, neoliberal corporate projects or EU protectionism.) So from what I hear and see this was not an expression of protest by the Precariat against the establishment, after all what are Gove, Farage, Johnson and the right of the Tories?
What the media is missing, as it daily presents itself as neutral observer of a political process rather than as the big player in that process that it actually is, was that this result was the effect of years of anti European, xenophobic propaganda emanating from a neoliberal political/media elite who have convinced masses of people that problems caused by domestic policies are the fault of another. The affluent and the Precariat have been taught over years to blame the EU and migration for domestic problems of de-industrialisation, a hollowed out economy, low levels of social mobility and lack of investment-all home grown economic and social problems. 
This Referendum was never primarily to do with international politics but power plays within the Tory party and between the Tories and UKIP but it has changed the UK's relationship with the rest of the world, relationships within the UK and could have profoundly negative cultural effects as it has emboldened far right racists and xenophobes.
If we are unlucky we are going to find out soon what an even more right wing UK government freed of EU constraints looks like and I really don't think that the poor, the precarious and the vulnerable of England and Wales will be better off.

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