Saturday, 19 January 2019

This IS what we voted for.

May survives a no-confidence vote... just
Why the current turmoil in Westminster is perfect

Whenever Londoners discuss the people who voted for Brexit, they always talk about working class men living in places like Sunderland, Scunthorpe, Stockton and other non-metropolitan places beginning with other letters of the alphabet. There’s usually a tone that denotes these people didn’t know what they were voting for, they were lied to, and given the opportunity they would now vote to remain.

Although I’m sure that is true in some cases, I’m sure that it is equally as true that for many, the current mayhem is exactly what they hoped would happen after the vote in June 2016.

For some people, voting to leave the EU wasn’t so much about Brexit as it was disrupting the political landscape and getting politicians to pull their weight for once. Yes, the clich├ęs about the European commission being undemocratic and the dangers of open borders played some part in how they cast their vote, but the real goal was to give Westminster a kick up the arse. A violent reminder to the 650 MPs that the rest of the country is still here - and they’re not happy.

After talking to people up and down the country, it seems there is a decent sized demographic who believe this. Many I’ve spoken to have a view of MPs that has not improved much since the expenses scandal almost ten years ago. MPs are perceived as money-grabbing, lazy, ignorant elites who are visible to the constituency about once every five years when another election is around the corner, but apart from that, just crop up in the local paper occasionally for a ceremonial opening of a new children’s park.

Nothing seems to change. "Vote Labour, Vote Conservative, they’re all the same” they echo. Then came along Europe. In the build-up to the 2016 referendum, everyone spoke about immigration figures and how much money was given to the EU, but a statistic that was thrown around just as much was the two thirds of British laws that come from the EU. This confirmed the belief that Parliament was lazy, and it was the EU doing the heavy lifting. Thankfully, the referendum provided the means for monumental political upheaval.

The Remain campaign somewhat helped fuel this backlash too, talking about the instability that Britain leaving the EU would cause. Columns inches were devoted to whether the traditional two-party system would survive Britain leaving the EU, the media buzzed about all the EU statutes integrated into British law that would be put in jeopardy, and economic forecasters were outspoken about the economic damage Brexit would do to the City. For those who wanted to see the elites feel uneasy for once, this was an opportunity too good to ignore.

So when you read the news this week and hear about Theresa May struggling to make it through another day in power, Jeremy Corbyn awkwardly trying to invent an all-pleasing position on Brexit, and the media whipped up in a frenzy of weak-predictions and endlessly pointing out how ‘not normal’ everything is, remember that for some this is ideal. This is bliss. For there are people who have felt for years that they have no control, are powerless, and lack a certain future… but now it’s the politicians’ turn.