The loudest voices in the Remain camp are the same people who got us in this mess in the first place
Political spaces can be tough to navigate. There are always people there to hear the sound of their own voice. Spaces are rarely welcoming for marginalised people. Brexit may be the biggest crisis facing the UK in recent history, but the opposition is causing apathy.
So many of the Remain spaces are just toxic. This isn’t about the fear of Brexit, they’re damn right about that. But so many of the Facebook groups, the tweets, the protests are dominated by the same people who brought this entire mess to begin with – white, middle class, older men. When the movement has become about that entire group, it actually makes Brexit a hell of a lot more difficult to care about.
Brexit will have a devastating impact – but let’s be clear, the people who bear the brunt of that will be disabled people, queer people, migrants and people of colour. Young people face their futures being robbed by Brexit. Where are their voices? While there is so much grief still over the vote, there has been little discussion about how these groups specifically will be impacted. When the leader of the ‘Brexit Opposition’ is the man who was in the Coalition Government and oversaw the bedroom tax then something has gone very wrong.
“Where are their voices?”
The Remain movement should be led by those who will be hit the most, but the movement isn’t looking remotely different. Some will say this is a good thing, because it supposedly shows how Brexit is hated across the political board but that misses the point. Marginalised people always make up a significant percentage of the population, yet are always shut out of debates. The Brexit discussions risk doing the same thing. It also cannot be ignored how Brexit came about.
The arguments around Brexit risk giving everyone fatigue. It seems that only with Brexit have people realised the NHS is in crisis, and Lib Dem and Tory Remainers are particularly tiresome when their parties implemented austerity, which saw public sector cuts and helped fuel the sentiment that people were getting left behind, which contributed to the Brexit vote.
Brexit may be a catastrophe the UK is facing, but austerity has pushed disabled people into poverty, and the UK has even been rebuked by the UN for its disgraceful treatment of disabled people. The NHS has been under-supported. Child poverty has exploded, as has homelessness. Brexit risks economic turmoil, but many people have been facing that already. To ask them to get worked up over Brexit risks making a mockery of them. Some people have been fighting economic ruin and inequality since 2010. But now, middle class people are starting to wake up because Brexit now threatens them.
Remain don’t get it. People don’t want to go back to the status-quo. Even those against Brexit, long for change which is why so many are still flocking behind Corbyn despite his weak stance on Brexit. The battle for Remain cannot begin and end with overturning one result. It must push for a wholescale change, where we are part of the EU but also have learnt that this shows we must fight for a society that supports everyone, and where there is real investment. Brexit was about more than the EU, but it wasn’t about migration or identity as Leave may claim. It was about the very way in which Britain has been run. When so many people have been left behind, we have to show that we won’t make that same mistake again.