Gary is a bit of a dick, but he’s not evil.
I’ve got friends who are genuinely scared following recent political events. I share concern but feel much less separated after the tiny-handed orange one became President-elect.
Why? The American election was similar to Brexit in many ways and the extremity of choice made me realise, to most, it wasn’t about the detail. The majority voted the ‘wrong’ way simply because it was NOT the same.
Half the UK population didn’t suddenly reveal themselves to be violent fascist knob-heads with swastikas on their necks when they voted to leave Europe. The Leave vote occurred because a lot of people feared the gradual change they perceived happening and wanted things to return to ‘normal’.
If I were to create a persona of the typical Leave voter it would be Gary the builder; down the pub on his 4th pint telling a casually racist joke, baggy stone-wash jeans, flicks through the Mail whist eating his sausage roll at lunch time, doesn’t want the Polish driving his prices down, hates seeing his familiar village change and feels a bit awkward when he hears languages he doesn’t understand in the post office. We all know a Gary, lacking education, in a bubble of sorts, but not an evil person.
To reinforce my point, look at London and California; vibrant, multi-cultural, rapidly evolving and embracing change. Look at how the majority voted there.
So try not to feel divided or disappointed in our nation, it’s just an inevitable resistance to change. It comes from people like Gary, he isn’t listening to facts, figures and experts, he just wants to feel comfortable, we can all relate to that in some way.
Our job now is to make politics more accessible to younger generations, to stop tabloids poisoning minds and to hold politicians accountable. Whilst we’re unlikely to get Gary to accept the facts and embrace diversity we can make sure his offspring are open-minded, informed and interested in politics.