One of the saddest things about the EU Ref is the flagrant classism of educated Remain voters 5 years ago

One of the saddest things about the EU Ref is the flagrant classism of educated Remain voters

I'll put my cards on the table now and say that I voted to remain in the EU on Thursday.

I'm gutted that we're leaving, I consider myself a European, and I've benefitted first hand from a lot of the – in my opinion – brilliant things the EU has done for the UK.


But I'm actually far more gutted about the way some of my white, uni-educated, Remain voter friends reacted to losing the referendum; seeing friends of mine whom I respect and love calling millions of people they've never even met "racist" and "stupid" for exercising their democratic right is something I don't ever want to see again.

It's a weird sort of classism when you aim the word "stupid" and attribute blame to people who are less affluent than you for making a decision that's different to yours.

Class is an incredibly delicate subject to deal with, but referendum data does clearly show that people in poorer areas were more likely to vote to leave the EU, despite living in areas that gained the most from EU investment.


And your level of academic education did clearly play a part in the way a lot people voted in the EU Referendum, with those with university degrees more likely to vote to remain in the EU, and those without degrees more likely to vote out.

So, were these people racist? Were they stupid? Were they idiots?

The Leave voters I spoke to, particularly those from deprived areas, said they are fed up with their lot and just want "to change things".

We actually asked a number of Leave voters why they made the decision to leave the EU, which you can read here.


For some of them immigration was a concern, that doesn't make them racist – even though a number of them clearly are – but the main concern seemed to be a feeling that things had been getting progressively worse in the UK, and that this referendum was an opportunity to change things, even if leaving the EU does involve an element of risk.

This is the reality of what we're dealing with here.

While it might make you feel morally superior to brand somebody "racist" for being worried about the effect a higher volume of people competing for jobs in the UK will mean for their quality of life, it's a concern that is a very real, daily part of the lives of so many people in this country.


I think those who voted Remain, and who are angry that we are leaving, are right to be angry. I'm angry.

But my anger is directed at politicians who have failed to build a United Kingdom that works for people in the Welsh valleys, in Cornwall and in the north-east as well as it does for those in London.

Who used a campaign built on fear and hate to make people think that immigration might be the reason they're poor or living in deprivation, despite clear figures showing it's not.


The Guardian's Owen Jones called it on Thursday night when he said that, no matter what the result, we clearly live in a divided country right now.

A number of people in poor and deprived areas in this country voted to leave because they thought it might change a situation they've been stuck in, and it's not their fault they've been stuck in that situation.

The motivating factor in their decision was to try and improve things, and we should take heed of that.

We've been living in a country which is divided for far too long, now we need to help each other out instead of hating each other.

Many Leave voters hold social views that Remain voters would feel uncomfortable with – 81% of people who thought multiculturalism was a negative thing voted to leave the EU.

And 74% of people who thought feminism was a negative force voted to Leave.

It's unusual to naturally hold these negative views towards other humans, and instead of blaming the individuals, Remain voters should see this as a societal problem that needs to be addressed.

It's time to find a way to try and fix this, and I think the white, uni-educated Remain voters who were parading classist messages on social media have a responsibility to do this.