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My family's protest vote - about what?

(225 Posts)
Mom2Monkeys Wed 23-Nov-16 13:19:07

I can't talk to my family about this, as I was the only person who voted remain amongst them. So sorry, I'm letting off steam here.

I am really fed up of my family going on about how they voted Leave as a protest vote and using words like 'exploitation', 'lies', 'struggling', etc, to justify it. My Dad said angrily the other day that 'as a white middle-aged, middle class man he is last in the queue for everything'. It made me fume inside. He means opportunities in life.

He actually believes it. He worked really hard through the years, but my Dad, and the rest of the family, have done pretty well for themselves, when compared with lots of people who ARE actually struggling.
He could have gone to university if he'd wanted (his sister went). He had one stable middle-management job his whole life, with a lucrative pension (cash payout and generous monthly payments), which enabled him to retire in his late forties. He then bought a flat (cash) to rent out as extra income. He also paid off the mortgage on his house completely years ago. He is careful with money and always been a saver, so does OK.

My husband and I, on the other hand, have no personal pension (SAHM and moved around in jobs) and who knows what the state pension will be like when we retire. House prices are now astronomical. Yet, my mother talks to me as if we are really well off and in a better situation than they are (we do OK, but not well off). They don't seem to realise that their retirements are probably way more comfortable than we could ever hope for.

When my family talk about being 'expoited', they are not talking about other people - they believe it about themselves. My aunt, retired in her big country house - talks as if she is the 'under-class', looking up at people better off than her.

Why don't they realise they ARE the ones who've had it good!?!

Peregrina Wed 23-Nov-16 15:28:06

Could you ask them what they expect to get out of it, now they have voted Leave?

Mom2Monkeys Wed 23-Nov-16 16:03:54

I actually think that they are using the excuse that it was a protest vote to cover up the true reasons why they voted leave. They are now jumping on the 'protest vote' reason that has been talked about so much.
I can't talk to them about anything to do with Brexit because it starts an argument - I get ganged up on and criticised. I have not expressed any of this observation to them.

In my experience - far from the image portrayed by the media; that it was people who 'have not benefitted' from the status quo who voted leave - the opposite has been true for my friends/family. Most of the people I know that voted Leave are considerably well off. They weren't worried about the terrible economic forecasts because they are actually financially sound and think they could weather the storm. And paradoxically, it's been my friends on tight budgets who voted Remain, because they were worried about the forecasted rising prices and jobs, etc.

I just think the way the media has generalised about the 'type of people' who voted one way or the other is not the full picture. It wasn't just - poorer, disaffected groups voted one way and educated, wealthier people the other (as they like to portray) - it really was a mixed bag on both sides.

MyschoolMyrules Wed 23-Nov-16 16:12:07

At the end of the day, everyone is allowed to vote however they wanted. I am also a remained - now remowner! - and I do get angry at some of the absolutely ridiculous claims and promises of the leave campaign and find the entire thing utterly baffling. But it is not worth being angry at your family. Both my parents have racist views and I have spent most of my teenage and young adult years fighting over it especially wth my dad. All I can say is count to ten and take deep breaths. Express your views if you want to, but if you criticise the way they voted the risk is that you will fight. I am not sure it's worth it.

allegretto Wed 23-Nov-16 16:19:27

My experience has been the same as yours OP. The only people I know who voted leave are really well-off. I know that some of them voted because they are fed up of immigration (because they told me). However, they live in a village in the south of England where I have literally never seen anyone non-white! confused

tribpot Wed 23-Nov-16 16:37:41

Maybe your dad identifies with his class (white men) and thus objects to the apparent 'advantage' handed to minority groups and women by not being completely overlooked and ignored for all forms of advancement? As the quote goes, "when you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression".

I think it's the same sentiment that Philip Davies chose to express ahead of International Men's Day, that "men have lost their voice" - hilarious when he works in a House of Commons which is 71% male, 93% white. Perhaps if your idea of normal is 100% white, 100% male, this does feel like oppression? My heart's not exactly bleeding, however.

Mom2Monkeys Wed 23-Nov-16 16:40:05

Allegretto - Good to hear there are others in the same situation as me. It's actually been a horrible 6th months since the result, due to family tension. The conversation I had with my Dad started because I asked whether my sister had managed to get her children into the local school. He then started going on about how foreign kids and single mums get in first (my sister is a single mum, which is a fact completely lost on him) and that we are at the back of the queue. He totally misunderstands the selection process. But, anyway, I think there is definitely a recist element to his vote. They live in a very white town. There is probably only about 5 children who are not white in the whole school (which is a large primary).

WrongTrouser Wed 23-Nov-16 16:51:14

I just think the way the media has generalised about the 'type of people' who voted one way or the other is not the full picture. It wasn't just - poorer, disaffected groups voted one way and educated, wealthier people the other (as they like to portray) - it really was a mixed bag on both sides

I think this is very true and needs to be understood more widely. If I was in charge grin no-one would be allowed to discuss Brexit outside the privacy of their own house before they had passed a written test to demonstrate their knowledge of the findings of the Ashcroft polls on who voted how (eg 43% of social class AB voted leave).

I also agree with you that the "protest vote" element has been massively exaggerated. I think the majority voted according to whether they want the UK to be within the EU or without.

whatwouldrondo Wed 23-Nov-16 16:59:07

mom Exactly the same situation with family tensions, I don't talk about it with them but it keeps coming out anyway. The funny thing is that my Mum who was the most liberal is the most mouth like a cat's bum about it all. They have just swallowed a lot of lies from the media, some of it I think at one remove, talking to their friends. As fast as you contradict one myth, another comes out. I feel they have been whipped up into feeling a lot of anger and frustration against immigrants, "London elites", the EU, that they have no personal reason to feel. It just wasn't there before. They think they are still Liberals as well!! They are just being "realistic" except that nothing they say is actually reality.......

They have older grandchildren, some living in the EU and overseas, in careers in Science, that have all made clear how important they regard the EU is to them but they haven't taken that into consideration at all. They are totally ignoring their upset and worry because I am sure it is causing them dissonance.

Draylon Wed 23-Nov-16 17:07:15

My parents, not both departed, would've 100% been Brexiteers.

They allowed themselves to be brainwashed by the Telegraph, so would bang on and on about how disadvantaged they were due to the favouritism shown to Johnny Forriner and single mums. Not that there were many of the former in rural Wiltshire, or they knew of the latter personally!

So they'd sit there in their £500k owned outright house, on their £30k pa pensions income, dad having retired at 57, from his middle-management job, mum from her occasional part-time 'pin-money' job, when they were actually at home not in Australia, Thailand or NZ on holiday, blaming 'immigrants' for everything they deemed 'wrong' in the country (but warmly praising the Polish women in the local care home and dad's Indian opthalmologist).

Love that: "when you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression".

Draylon Wed 23-Nov-16 17:07:52

"now" departed, should I say!

Mom2Monkeys Wed 23-Nov-16 17:26:29

I don't know whether it's because both parents came from upbringings where cash was tight. They were from council house estates (but later their familes bought the council houses). It's as if they felt poor when young, and that feeling has never left them. Even when they are doing well, they get angry about being an under-dog.

They worked hard to give their kids everything they could, but sometimes I fell like they resent it (me particularly). When I've talked about Brexit I've been very careful not to use any personal language or say anything that could be taken as an insult (knowing how sensitive they are), so I've mentioned facts and info I've read. Then I'm accused of patronising them and using FACTS, as if it's something disgusting. I have been called all names under the sun, despite the fact I've never labelled or used any insulting names back. There really is a lot of anger towards me. I think it's because I went to university (my siblings CHOSE not to) and now they think I'm 'different'. Therefore, I MUST be doing well in life and well off.

It's complete rubbish and a misconception on their behalf. Since I decided to stay at home with the kids (5 years ago) and survive on one income, things have been tight for us. The Brexit result was a real worry if it meant things would get tighter.

tribpot Wed 23-Nov-16 20:23:20

I think by going to university you've become part of the liberal, metropolitan elite. Being 'accused' of using facts is such a worrying part of 2016 life.

HummusForBreakfast Wed 23-Nov-16 20:34:06

What you are describing, that the pensioners now are better off that people who are working is a reality for a lot of people.

Said pensioners have been told all their life that pensioners have little money, that's why they need free NHS, fuel allowances etc... And dont get me wrong, some do. But actually a lot dont but truly believe that they are still like pensioners a generation ag who had very little.

I'm not sure you will get through him tbh sad

HummusForBreakfast Wed 23-Nov-16 20:36:21

Yep you went to Uni, you are using Facts, therefore you are privileged.
It doesn't matter how much money you are earning, how well off you actually are.
Being educated is a BAD thing.

Or so it seems.

NameChanger22 Wed 23-Nov-16 20:47:28

I completely agree with you OP. Most of the poor people I know (wages under £20,000, some considerably less than this) voted remain. Most of the older and more comfortable voters I know voted leave. In fact my deprived city voted remain, whereas the more affluent county voted leave. I'm sick of media lies, and this is just one more of them.

My attempts to talk to any leavers about this have ended in disaster. Many old school 'friends' deleted me from social media because the day after the referendum I expressed my remorse. Some old school 'friends' are still so obsessed with me not voting the same way as them that they have regular bitches about me - 7 months on.. I think most of the bullies voted for brexit.

stubbornstains Wed 23-Nov-16 20:51:23

Yup (sigh). I live in Cornwall, and pretty much it went like this, in our area: Centre of the village, tiny overcrowded privately rented houses (mostly young families): Remain posters. Big farmhouses and converted barns with extensive grounds in the surrounding countryside: plastered with Leave posters. Also, I come from the Home Counties. Rich. As. Fuck. My parents' area voted overwhelmingly to leave.

allegretto Wed 23-Nov-16 21:11:25

And I have also heard a lot of the arguments about it being "economically challenging in the short term but worth it for long term benefits" precisely from the people who are very well-off and cushioned against the rise in costs that Brexit brings. Strange that.

Dapplegrey1 Wed 23-Nov-16 21:16:16

"passed a written test to demonstrate their knowledge of the findings of the Ashcroft polls on who voted how (eg 43% of social class AB voted leave)."
Wrongtrouser - the polls have been getting it consistently wrong, most recently in the US election.
Why on earth do you think this Ashcroft poll is correct?

stubbornstains Wed 23-Nov-16 21:23:44

I wonder why the media is focussing so much on the poor who voted Leave though (and the poor Americans who voted for Trump, when bigger percentages of high earners voted for him than low earners)? Is it because, at least from the perspective of the media, it's easier to blame "other" the poor?

NameChanger22 Wed 23-Nov-16 21:47:06

Stubbornstains - I think it's because when it all goes to shit (which it will) they'll need a convenient scapegoat. Poor people are easier to blame, they always have been.

SeeTheGood20 Wed 23-Nov-16 21:47:52

I agree with alot of this.
We were always told that racists were poor and disadvantaged. This brought me comfort as I thought they wouldn't be able to cause much damage.
But nowadays alot of racists are actually very rich. I don't know what their excuse is. Alot of people making blatant racist comments online often boast about their wealth and where they live. Alot of racists in the news are often very rich. Rich therefore more powerful.

I'm not implying that brexiters are all racists of course.
But those who complain about immigration are certainly not disadvantaged or 'left behind'.

birdybirdywoofwoof Wed 23-Nov-16 22:29:26

Dapplegrey, prediction polls often get it wrong that's true- but polls after an election are done differently. You use census information to build a picture of each area- so barking, for example, has a very low number of graduates and a massively high number of brexiters.
Combined with exit poll info you get a real sense of who voted what.
I agree with op anyway, we know that the 'comfortable' over 60s were pto brexit in general ...it sucks that their little rebellion will screw up the economy for years and years - yet they won't feel the consequences.

WrongTrouser Thu 24-Nov-16 08:04:08

Dapplegrey1 That's a good point and the Ashcroft polls might not be completely accurate (well, no polls are, as they are based on sampling).

But looking at other surveys and, most importantly, the actual voting numbers in different areas shows that the myth that only the less well off and less educated voted leave is far from the true picture.

Where I live, 73% voted leave. It is a lovely part of the world and most people have a good standard of living but I still hear people talking about the leave vote in our area as being from the down-trodden, left-behind, uneducated poor. There just aren't enough of them to make up 73% of the vote. (It was also clear from leave posters on display that many wealthy people round here support leave).

Whilst there are demographic trends in who voted leave and remain, they have been exaggerated and charicatured to a ridiculous extent. We just need to look at the overall figures to see that it is not only the poorest and least educated who voted leave. Leave would not have got the majority if that was the case.

So Ashcroft's poll might not be completely accurate and may be a few percent out, but it certainly nearer the truth than the picture often presented in the media and believed by many.

Peregrina Thu 24-Nov-16 08:16:36

The media always go to poorer more working class areas like Sunderland, Bolton and Barnsley to seek out opinions. I would love to see them go to some true blue Tory areas, like Surrey and ask people there how they voted. See if they still think they are downtrodden, or whether they are hankering after the Empire, or whether like Gove, Rees-Mogg and Redwood, they are just happy to wreck the current system on ideological grounds and to hell with the consequences, because they are wealthy and will be OK whatever happens.

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