I have a slew of Brexit-related days out coming up, one done already down in Middlesbrough, which was nearly two-thirds in favour of Leave. Our half-dozen campaigners, a jolly mix of people from Newcastle and north Yorkshire, stood outside Debenhams for two hours this Saturday gone and vox-popped folk on how they thought Brexit was going. Four to one think it is, in short, a clusterfuck. And time and again we had those who came up, said they’d voted Leave, but now regretted it in light of new information. Not, they’d done it out of spite against the Tories when they knew better, or were so bored of it, no. They’d been misled and they were angry about that, or they knew people who’d been misled and who couldn’t talk about it out of shame. It is a travesty.
I got into a well-spirited debate with a trades unionist who wasn’t going to be persuaded, although he agreed it was a load of lies sold by Tories who’d only ever been in it for themselves, but his main beef was immigration overwhelming local resources, principally housing. In fact I was talking to a friend today who said the same thing, and that’s what it was for many, housing, that’s what it’s always been.
And now I think of it, of course, when did this really come about? In the mid-noughties, when house prices were heading into the strastosphere and I was doing my nut for not being on the housing ladder, the endless articles and TV shows and propaganda about home-owning, the money being thrown at it. I got my own place, an ex-council flat no less …. but what of the millions of others increasingly struggling to find anywhere even to rent? Certainly not the councils who’d sold so much stock over the years to enable to working class to become home-owners (and thereby middle-class, prosperous, no longer dependent on the community, maybe even come to vote Tory?) but hadn’t built anything like enough to replace them. And at the same time immigration began to increase dramatically, and those nominal working-class Labour-voters began to support the BNP.
I said at the time we had a real debt timebomb of over a trillion pounds, stacked against old bricks, and indeed it went bust in 2008, for which we got years of austerity which provoked enough voters to vote Leave just to stick it to Cameron – and not least because the EU hadn’t done them any good either way, so they think.
Throughout austerity those without homes still never got their bricks, while wages are augmented by foodbanks, festering an anger that has had to be directed at someone, somewhere.
Them over there in that house.
Was that the real timebomb?
Was the writing on the wall all the way back then?