You say that my comment is elitist and derogatory in the way it treats adults like children. I’m not sure how it’s elitist or derogatory to claim that the average person struggling in relative poverty probably doesn’t care to read up on geopolitics. I don’t blame them for it or think it makes them worse people. I don’t think it makes them intrinsically stupid or somehow worse than me. It’s simply a observation. The whole point of it was to fight against your claim that not knowing about the world makes you a pathetic schoolchild.
I mean, forget anything about relative poverty, just consider the average person. Me included. I am just as guilty of the ignorance that I'm accusing others of. I said it to kb in a PM and I'll say it again: I voted 'Remain' because... the status-quo was pretty good for me. On the face of it, I saw no reason for things to change so drastically. But there was no conscious geopolitical or economical basis behind my vote. And that’s coming from someone with a masters degree (though it's in music, so go figure) living a cushy middle-class lifestyle. If the people who swung the referendum are assholes, then so am I. I am the same as them, just with a more advantageous upbringing.
Did you watch the ‘Anywhere But Westminster’ video? I realise that the link was wrong for a while, so I don’t blame you if you didn’t. That notwithstanding, all the leave voters who talk to the host never actually say anything about the EU, geopolitics, or trade. It’s all about how their hometown has gone to shit. How they are unemployed and can’t get a job. Or how they are employed but effectively take home less than the minimum wage.
You talk about the ‘social contract’ and the responsibility one has as a member of a society. Fundamentally I agree with you. But someone whose disability benefits have been denied and has to get their meals from a foodbank probably doesn’t care much for the ‘social contract’. Where’s their benefit from it?
It’s all there in the figures. Out of those polled, the most likely people to vote leave were:
- Those with no formal education qualifications (78%) or whose highest qualifications are CSEs or O-levels (61%) [rezzeJ note: These are the old form of GCSEs which are exams that you take at 16.]
- Those with an income of less than £1,200 per month (66%)
- Those in social housing provided by a local authority (70%) or housing association (68%)
- Those finding it difficult to manage financially (70%) or just about getting by (60%)
- Those who believed Britain has got a lot worse in the last ten years (73%)
- Those who think things have got worse for them rather than other people (76%)
- Those who perceive themselves as working class (59%)
- Those who see themselves as English rather than British (74%) or more English than British (62%)
This is particularly telling:
The NatCen Panel post-Referendum survey asked what people thought the current priority for government should be… It is worth noting that Europe and the EU was significantly less likely to be selected overall than every issue other than unemployment, and less likely to be selected than education, the NHS, and immigration for those who voted Leave. This suggests that people were more focused on the domestic issues, rather than the detailed arguments about European relations… Around one in five, even though their underlying preference was to stay in the EU, voted Leave.
And this is reflected by an observation from the host in another of the ‘Anywhere but Westminster’ videos:
[There’s] a hell of a lot of other people who thought that [Brexit] was something that happened 2 years ago. And, for very understandable reasons, they can’t quite fathom why it’s dragging on
That’s the overarching point here. In a lot of ways, the result of the referendum has nothing to do with the EU. A lot of voters didn’t really have a clue about the nature of our relationship with EU. This is highlighted by the fact that even though the true impact of their decision has come to the surface and Vote Leave's lies exposed during the process of trying to leave, most of them still would vote leave again.
So what they were voting for? To fix what they perceive as a broken country. They were voting for: “we’re in the shit over here and if you’re not going to help us then fuck you too.” People tried to raise their voice before through the general elections, but the FPTP system negated the impact of their votes. The referendum gave the voters a voice. A straight choice where safe seats, FPTP, and all that made no difference. So unfortunately, leaving the EU became collateral damage in a process of these people finally being able to raise their voice.
...participants who agreed that ‘politicians don’t listen to people like me’ were significantly more likely to vote Leave (58%) than those who did not (37%)
Yes, some people who voted leave are racist assholes. And others are well-informed or well-off people with selfish agendas. But by pointing out all the things I have in this post, I am not attempting to “ absolves the assholes of their responsibility for this mess”, nor am I saying that it is the darn unwashed masses fault we’ve ended up here. I am saying that we need to be certain that we're pointing the finger at the right people. This is ultimately the fault of government, not that of the people who swung the vote. By blaming the people, you are doing exactly what Pie describes as populism in his video: masking the political failings by blaming others.
Edit: I have a sneaking feeling that we're actually on the same page and that we've just misunderstood each other. Is that correct?