You cannot say that our chattering classes were not warned. The bigoted woman put a shot across Gordon Brown’s bows, but he ignored it. To be fair some of his MPs did take her points on board and made big strides in combating various unpleasant rightwing parties.
But the problem is that our politicians have got more and more out of touch. Whether it’s because so few of them ever do proper jobs, or spend much time working alongside ordinary people I don’t know.
There were tactical mistakes made. Trying to use ‘project fear’ into frightening the English and Welsh into obedience was always likely to backfire. People aren’t stupid. They can work out that when the IMF says that if the UK should leave the EU the continent would collapse into darkness and end up sinking into the sea, whilst at the same time the PM says that we’re so irrelevant we’d struggle to get the same deal as Norway; one or both of them has to be wrong, and possibly lying.
But there are other mistakes, more serious mistakes. Large parts of England and Wales feel they’ve been abandoned. A ‘remain’ supporter told me this morning that those who voted to leave wouldn’t get what they were hoping for. That’s when it struck me; a lot of these people don’t actually have any hope.
Stuck in towns where there are few decent jobs left, educated in ‘bog standard’ comprehensives, advised to go to university because “You might as well, you’ll never get a job that earns you enough to pay back your student loan.”
I know too many young people who are stuck in dead end jobs with no real hope of improving their lot.
The marginalised, the ignored, those who’ve been contemptuously dismissed, they’ve voted. Sometimes for the first time; people in their fifties registered specially to get their voices heard.
It was G. K. Chesterton who wrote
We hear men speaking for us of new laws strong and sweet,
Yet is there no man speaketh as we speak in the street.
It may be we shall rise the last as Frenchmen rose the first,
Our wrath come after Russia’s wrath and our wrath be the worst.
It may be we are meant to mark with our riot and our rest
God’s scorn for all men governing. It may be beer is best.
But we are the people of England; and we have not spoken yet.
Smile at us, pay us, pass us. But do not quite forget.