In the wake of Brexit it is difficult to focus on one particular thing, as there has been an almost constant stream of bad news since around 5am on 24th June. Britain has voted to leave the EU, Cameron resigns and leaves a vacuum for an even more extreme Tory Prime Minister, the global economy crashed, the pound crashed. The list goes on almost endlessly it seems. And although of all groups the young (18-24 year olds who voted Remain with an overwhelming majority) seem to have it the worst and been outvoted by those who won’t live to see the long term results, there are another group of people who will be completely at risk after the result which a majority of them voted for. The working class.
The working class people of Britain have been disillusioned and simply uninterested in politics for decades now, as they believe that it does not matter who wins a general election, as neither party would really help them. But the Leave campaign sparked something in the poorest parts of Britain; anger. They made them angry with the government for not helping them, angry with the EU for not helping them, but mostly angry with immigrants who were allegedly ‘stealing their jobs’. So the working class voted Leave in their millions, believing the lies of the Leave campaign. What they failed to notice was who was telling them the lies.
First we have Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, two senior Conservative MPs with perhaps even less regard for the working class than David Cameron and George Osborne, and who will almost certainly take leading roles in the new Tory government. But the real ‘people’s champion’ in this referendum is Nigel Farage, the great working class hero who left public school at 18 to pursue a job in finance in the City, like his father. Hardly.
Immigrants are scapegoated to distract people from the real culprits, the ones forcing austerity upon us, the ones cutting workers’ rights, the ones benefitting from the xenophobic agenda.
But people bought into his ‘pint in one hand, cigarette in the other’ image. They believed he was there to help represent the working class in 21st Century British politics, because no one else does. And as a result of this, he has ruined them.
The EU was the last thing keeping low paid workers safe in Britain. It has laws in place covering everything from working conditions to pensions, to protect workers who are at the mercy of their paycheques. In a heartbeat that will all disappear, and the new Conservative government who I suspect will be even tougher on the working classes than the previous one has no obligation to reinstate these laws in Britain. It is unlikely the working people will have any defence against the elite.
The part of this I find most difficult is that it was the working class themselves who voted Leave, and they will be some of the worst off at the hands of Brexit. They have been fed lies by the Brexiters and will now suffer hugely as a result. It saddens me deeply that this is the state of the class system in Britain.
The state of Britain today means the poorest people of the country have had to turn to extremes just to feel like someone will do something to help them
Immigrants are scapegoated to distract people from the real culprits, the ones forcing austerity upon us, the ones cutting workers’ rights, the ones benefitting from the xenophobic agenda. The Government. Now the workers (and the rest of us) are left with a right wing government entirely unfettered from the EU’s restraints. If the working class think they will benefit from Brexit they are tragically wrong.
The state of Britain today means the poorest people of the country have had to turn to extremes just to feel like someone will do something to help them. They believe they have helped themselves by voting Brexit, because it was immigrants taking jobs and taking benefits that they so desperately needed. But they are wrong, and the coming months and years will prove it to them. There will be an even greater class war waged by the Tories as a result of this, and I don’t know if the working class will withstand it.
I find it desperately sad that a country that was built by working people and industrialisation has turned its back on them so easily without even a thought. The class war has become so much a part of the British political system that most people don’t even know it is happening. Brexit is the final stage, leaving the British government with free reign to act as it chooses, and trust me it will not be acting in the interests of the working people of Britain. Who else could the working class have turned to? Where are all the working class heroes?