Estimated reading time: ten minutes

Lisa Mckenzie

Estimated reading time: ten minutes

Working-class everyone was more prone to vote for Brexit. Lisa Mckenzie (Middlesex University) takes problem aided by the idea why these social individuals were ‘turkeys voting for Christmas’. They saw Brexit, with the uncertainties it can 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 does not grasp.

It’s 22 June 2016. I’m sat in a cafГ© into the East End of London with two regional ladies, ‘Sally’ – that is 23, has two small kids, and contains been regarding the council household waiting list for four years, along side over 19,000 other folks – and Anne, that is in her own sixties and calls herself a ‘proper Eastender’. Her kiddies and grandchildren had recently moved from the area and into Essex due to the insufficient a home that is affordable. It’s your day ahead of the EU referendum, and we also are speaing frankly about most of the politics associated with the time, including footballer David Beckham’s present intervention when you look at the debate: he’s got recently announced their support when it comes to stay campaign. The women are not pleased. The discussion goes:

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

‘He hasn’t ever surely got to concern yourself with 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 all of us , I’ve been homeless now for just two years.’

‘We don’t exist for them, 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 team of neighborhood working-class women and men in London’s East End included in ‘The Great British Class Survey’ in the LSE. We have gathered a huge selection of tales about working-class life within the last few four years into the East End, and thousands during the last 12 years. These little tales can frequently appear unrelated towards the big governmental debates regarding the time, in the event that you don’t realize the context in their mind. As a woman that is working-class we appreciate the art of storytelling: i am aware that a tale is not simply an account. It’s utilized by working-class visitors to explain who they really are, where they come from, and where they belong. These little tales are way too usually missed in wider governmental analysis in 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. Photo: Cesar Pics using a CC-BY-NC-SA 2.0 licence

Fortunately – as an ethnographer, a working-class educational, the child of the Nottinghamshire striking miner, and hosiery factory worker (and I also have actually lived 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 taking place round the referendum. The debates in bars, cafes, nail pubs, plus the hairdressers in working-class communities seemed infectious. Everyone was interested, and argued in regards to the finer points for the EU, but additionally made wider points about where energy rested in the UK, making links between the 2. Nevertheless, for many class that is working like ‘Sally’ plus the other females, the debates had been centred upon the constant challenge of these very own everyday lives, and so they connected those battles with their moms’ and grandmothers’ hardships, but additionally 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. They’d perhaps maybe perhaps not voted within the 2015 General Election: that they had small interest or faith in a governmental system seated just three kilometers away whenever their daily and instant situation required attention that is constant. When ‘Sally’ told me she would definitely use her vote for the very first time to go out of, I inquired her if she thought things would change for the higher if we had been to Brexit. She stated she didn’t know, and didn’t care. She simply couldn’t stand things being exactly the same.