So the EU referendum’s been and gone (finally), and I have to say I’m disappointed with the result. However, that is not the main subject of today’s blog, mainly because I can’t be arsed and I feel everyone’s covered that to a good extent (i.e. they won’t stop banging on about it). All that’s left to do now is to get on with it. No, there won’t be a second referendum, no matter how many petitions you sign. We have no choice, so even if you’re angry, just try and calm down. Please.
The referendum did bring up an interesting issue outside of the matter of the EU though. Many young people felt rather shafted by the oldies voting for leave, as ‘they [the older population] are the ones who will have to live with their decision for the shortest time’ and are apparently all raving racists and general nutters. I do not agree with this. Likewise, I do not agree with the viewpoint that all old people are basically Gandalf and have all knowledge of many things. Old people are people. They are different from each other. All demographics will have their tendencies, such as oldies being more conservative, but that does not mean they are all neo-Nazis. To illustrate my point, I will now write four (entirely fictional) biographies of people who are allowed to vote.
Our first case study is 21-year-old Rob. Rob is a final year English Lit and Politics student at the University of Bristol. He is the first person in his family to go to university. He is an above-average student, predicted to get a high 2:1. Rob takes a great interest in the local politics of the Bristol area, and always goes to the Student Union when a notable political figure is due to give a speech there. However, he avoids student politics, rightly so, because he thinks student politics is bollocks. Rob is correct. Rob usually reads the Guardian, and occasionally the Independent. He voted Labour in the last general election.
Rob voted to remain in the EU.
I am happy that people like Rob are able to vote.
Our second case study is 68-year-old Dave. Dave is a semi-retired van driver. Dave is very angry at the moment, as he has found out his youngest son has started dating an Asian woman. Dave does not want any ‘towelheads’ running about his Britain, let alone his house! He plans on disowning his son as soon as possible. Dave goes to the local Tesco to get the paper. His face drops as he walks in and sees that the woman at the till is of Asian descent. Dave would use the self-service checkout but he doesn’t understand how touchscreens work. He believes they’re an invention by the EU to control us. After doing his best to buy his paper without speaking to or looking at the friendly checkout lady, he scurries out of the shop.
He regularly reads the Daily Mail. This morning, he becomes absolutely infuriated at the news reported in the Mail: 300 MIL. TURBOCHARGED IMMIGRANTS TO COME TO THE UK AND STEAL OUR BAKED BEANS: WATCH OUT BRITS! (ALSO: PICTURES OF A B-LIST CELEB’S ARSE ON PAGE 5). Dave likes his beans. He is enraged that the foreigners are coming over here and stealing everything British. However, he calms down after page 5. Dave likes page 5. He is a simple man. Dave’s hatred of immigrants has not stopped him hiring a Polish plumber to come fix his toilet. However, he only did this because he thought ‘Grzegorz Lewicki’ was a bad misspelling of ‘Gregor Lewis’. Dave goes to check on Grzegorz. You know. Make sure he doesn’t nick anything.
“Y’know, you can stay. I like you. You fix my toilet. But the rest of you Polish vermin need to sod off.”
“Boże mój…” Grzegorz thinks to himself.
“Why don’t you just go to Russia anyway? You’re all basically the same thing, y’know, Communists and that.”
Grzegorz resists the urge to cave Dave’s head in with his spanner whilst telling him that Poles and Russians don’t usually…uh…’get on particularly well’, and that the Eastern Bloc collapsed 25 years ago.
Dave voted for UKIP in the last election. He voted to leave the EU.
I am not happy that people like Dave are able to vote.
Our third case study is 74-year-old widow Sue. Sue is a retired primary school teacher. Since she retired, she’s been taking more of an interest in political matters. She regularly reads the Times and always goes to meet with her local councillor whenever he presents to the public. Her granddaughter taught her how to use her smartphone and now Sue can keep in touch with family and friends and do multiple other useful things. Sue used to be quite wary of immigrants but when an Indian family moved in next door she has become more open. She regularly goes round for a cup of tea and invites them over at least once a month for dinner. Sue is fed up of the bureaucracy that seems to obstruct any process undertaken in government, local or national. She voted Conservative in the last general election.
Sue voted to leave the EU.
I am happy that people like Sue are able to vote.
Our final case study is 20-year-old student Tigerlily O’BangBang. Her original name was Alice Johnson, but she changed her name on the basis that a ‘normal’ name is an example of oppression by an ultra-capitalistic, neo-liberal, fascist government. She added the “O’” due to her 1/98th Irish heritage. Tigerlily studies Marketing at the University of Aberdeen. She regularly attends talks at the student union, much like Rob, but unlike Rob, if the speaker says something she disagrees with, she will shout and scream like a 4 year old. However her questionable facial piercings can sometimes distract people from the racket.
In a debate, Tigerlily’s beliefs are often questioned. Instead of offering a valid counter-argument, Tigerlily will instead crawl into her safe space and throw copies of the Communist Manifesto at her opponent whilst screaming about how Marx was right all along, completely ignoring the over 100 years of economic research undertaken since the publication of Das Kapital. She will rage about the worker’s struggle despite being born an only child to an extremely wealthy couple and having never wanted for anything in her life. Tigerlily also believes that Daesh are simply misunderstood freedom-fighters and that we should be understanding of their struggle.
One time in a marketing seminar, Tigerlily proudly ranted on about how she identified as a polymorphous pixie-kin, simultaneously asexual and pansexual, when fellow student Rachel questioned what this had to do with the common market, the topic at hand. At this, Tigerlily screamed, stood up, and threw her chair at Rachel, concussing her. Tigerlily had to be led away by university security. The next time Rachel saw Tigerlily, she slapped her round the face. Good on you, Rachel. Good on you.
Tigerlily voted for the Green party in the last general election, after nearly going for the British Communist Party. She voted to remain in the EU.
I am not happy that people like Tigerlily are able to vote.
I realise that the negative caricatures are much more detailed and exaggerated, but that’s because they’re easier and more fun to write. If I wrote a detailed biography of someone who was sensible, it wouldn’t be as interesting.
Now, as we can see, each demographic has their tossers, and each demographic has their sensible people. Is this a flaw in democracy? That the uninformed have the same say as the informed. I would say so. And the ideal thing would be to have to take a test before you could vote. However, this will never happen, as the backlash would most likely be immense.
So instead, just recognise that all demographics have different people within them. Not all people over the age of 60 will kiss Nigel Farage’s arse, and not all people under the age of 25 will be praying at their shrine to Jeremy Corbyn.
Also, Nigel Farage can piss off. Him and his big, smug, lying face. Git.
P.S. Please, please, recognise that the negative caricatures are extremely exaggerated and people who match those portrayals are probably not too numerous. They are used to illustrate a point.