The old people
Since Brexit there’s been a lot of vitriol flying around. I’ve kept out of it, but I’ve certainly given it a lot of thought.
Part of my puzzlement has been that, according to the media, many people voting for Brexit were of the older variety – by which I take to mean not my generation. In truth, I am approaching 50, and my generation were the vainglorious crew who took us to the precipice and pushed us off the edge in the first place, so there’s small comfort in that thought.
So let’s be clear, demographically at least. The young (under 30s) if they bothered to vote were more likely to vote remain. The old (the baby boomers, post 60 year olds) were more likely to vote leave. There will, of course, be many, many exceptions to these broad statements and I am personally related to a few.
What I have been puzzling over is that some of those voting to leave must surely have been those who may very well have voted us in to the Common Market, in 1972. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away… or they simply changed their minds after a 44 year experiment. Chin chin.
Until I took a bus trip. And I heard old people talking to each other about such things. Their words threw a bedraggled doily over the tabletop of the referendum – of course we want our children to have a better world than we did they said… But the truth was the table itself was built of bitter wood. Cerebrally these people wanted the younger generation to have the world as their oyster, but emotionally they begrudged it. They begrudged it to their flesh and blood, and they begrudged it to anyone who had not earned it. Our parents had no help they cried. Why should they?
Young people: you have been robbed. Some of the contingent that makes up your grandparents and great-grandparents (unknown) have voted because they suffered, and many of them don’t see why the rest of us shouldn’t too.
They avow that they do not want the young to have it all on a plate. So that’s what that was about people. Now we know.
Edited to add: I can accept that those who voted to join a common market in the 1970s felt that by now they had got more (and less) that they had bargained for. I can accept that they wanted to rectify their perceived error. What I find harder is the general fuck you too from people who won’t be so affected (determined by income and life expectancy) by the very real consequences.