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a blog by Chris Barrow

Who were the Brexit voters?

brexit blue european union EU flag on broken wall and half great britain flag

The result is the result and, depending on how you voted (or didn’t) the party poppers or spilt milk can now be cleared away – tomorrow is the first Monday back at work and, with or without a Prime Minister, an effective opposition party or a united kingdom, we all have to get cracking.

The media this morning is full of the lies that were told as truths by both campaigns, as each side seeks to justify it’s win or loss.

The debate as to whether this is good for Great Britain is over.

We will probably move our focus on to the likelihood of a continued departure from the Euros over the days ahead (oh – and the season finale of Game of Thrones tomorrow night – no spoilers please – on the same night that GOT concludes and England play I’ll be presenting a workshop on digital marketing in Birmingham – I’m expecting an audience similar in size to that enjoyed by Adele last night).

I’m interested, from the perspective of contemporary history, to take a look at who did vote Brexit – perhaps so that I can either tap them on the shoulder in 40 years from now and say

  1. “you know what, fair play, you were right” or

  2. look what you did!

However, that’s unlikely – because most of them will be dead.


It was pretty obvious during the campaign that age played an important role in the vote and I can already see something of an outcry from Millennials (including my own children) who feel that “the old have benefited from Europe for a generation and have now sold us down the river” (don’t shoot the messenger – I report on what I read).

Delving deeper, we find that there are some other interesting categories of Brexit voters.


That’s a controversial illustration as the implication is that Brexit voters are somehow stupid.

I have no degree and left school at 16 with 4 O levels, so I would take umbrage at the suggestion that being less educated makes me less smart (and I’ve met my fair share of stupid graduates over the years).

I also grew up in a council house rented to my parents by Greater Manchester Police and can rattle off a series of post codes where we lived that are clearly “working class”. The surveys show that my class voted Brexit.


So – are we out of Europe because enough old, uneducated, lower class people made the effort to express their opinion?

Or are we out of Europe because not enough younger, educated, upper working class and middle class people bothered?

I return to the demographics.


And the evidence is that the lower turnout by younger voters may well have influenced the result, given the narrow margin by which the “leavers” won.


So my observation to the heirs to our finances is that before you start a campaign to introduce euthanasia for all blue collar over 65’s who can’t answer many questions on University Challenge, take a look in the mirror and reflect on what might have happened if your attendance at polling stations last week had been as committed as your attendance at Glasto.

Don’t blame the oldies for voting, blame the youngsters for not voting.

The idea of a petition to force another vote because you realise that you have screwed up is ludicrous.

For the record – the way that democracy works is that if you don’t give a shit, somebody else will and that might not be somebody you like. If you didn’t vote – tough – get on with it. If you did vote but didn’t win – tough – (have a moan for the day like I did) get on with it.

As to the future.

I’ve heard quite a few people saying that “Britain can be Great again”. That’s very patriotic and commendable (unless you were one of the nations that Britain conquered or exploited to become Great) but politicians and people will now decide whether there actually will be a Britain at all, let alone Great.

It’s not looking too good this morning, as we see our current political stability begin to crumble in the Brexit dystopia of Little Britain.

Like I said – we voted for it – back to work in the morning.

You know how the time flies Only yesterday was the time of our lives We were born and raised In a summer haze Bound by the surprise of our glory days

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