My dad turned 70 last year. He’s a lifelong right-wing staunch Tory who completes The Telegraph crossword daily. As you may expect he’s very traditional; he was and still is the epitome of a very anti-liberal parent (and grandparent). To me he’s an enigma, yet I have a sneaking suspiscion he’s a working class soul trapped in a middle class body. Him and his wife split their time between Yorkshire and France, where he’s still climbing on roofs doing up their converted barn.
About a month ago my dad was desperate to ask me if I’d voted yet. “Dad” I laughed, “It’s not until the 23rd!”. He however had already signed and sealed his postal vote and was desperate to impress on me to Vote Remain. I was surprised at this new openness (he never told me he was married for 10 years) but glad we were on the same page.
On Saturday we visited my brother and sister-in-law. They live in a nice gated community just outside of Sunderland. His dad is a jolly, open man who used to be a successful greengrocer in the city, where he now lives a comfortable retirement. He voted Leave because we can’t deport foreign murderers.
Those looking at the dry statistics of who voted what have been quick to blame the older generation. Now we’re not in the EU any more we clearly need a different scapegoat. But before you write my dad off as the one Baby Boomer who didn’t want to crush the youth of today, I believe my story makes another point.
Two men, both relatively comfortable. They’re roughly the same age so it wasn’t that which made the difference in their voting preferences. What did?
There are those who have argued that social class is dead. Globalisation has opened the doors to social mobility. Individualisation has destroyed the class collectivity (Trade Unions, jobs-for-life). This week has proved that those theories are fundamentally flawed.
If we don’t tackle the underlying reasons for this rift in our Country we are truly doomed. People vote because of their own personal circumstances not because they want to hurt others. Let’s stop pointing the finger and start looking for answers.