Brexit ? Its Grandad what done it.

The wailing and gnashing of teeth of young against old for voting ‘leave’ in the recent EU referendum is remarkable and reprehensible. On TV and in the newspapers the young display their anger and misery at having being betrayed by older, selfish, working-class, uneducated racists.

A historian reading the young’s hysterical postings on social media might think the old had launched a pogrom against the young, and were plotting to use their mobility scooters to herd the latter into camps to be re-educated in the ways of British Bigotry. Britain’s oldies also stand accused of betraying the young’s future, of leaving them bereft of hope in a benighted country, of fascistic intolerance, and, as the UK falls into economic ruin, of destroying their job prospects; in addition – horror of horrors – of cruelly threatening their gap year in Europe. Insults and vicious jokes abound, urging the old to hurry up and die so that their vile prejudices can be buried with them.

Imagine that gays, blacks or Muslims had largely voted to Leave, and that their votes had been instrumental in winning the referendum for Brexit. Would a torrent of abuse, accusation and dark humour have been directed against them? Of course not. It would be abhorrent. It seems however that the old are fair game, and ageism an acceptable prejudice.

There is nothing more illiberal than a liberal; I am of course, addressing a certain faction of the young: the over-earnest, cosmopolitan, social media obsessed, educated but ignorant and unquestioning cheerleaders of all things EU-related. I suspect that in deprived, working class estates across Britain there were as many of the young who voted leave as remain. However their voices do not resonate so loudly among the chattering classes.

This sheep like criticism of the Old Leavers is unjust. In many parts of the country grandparents were not voting themselves but for the sake of the generations succeeding them. They could foresee their children and grandchildren being priced out of work, of being unable to afford a house and being pushed ever further down the waiting lists for a council house, or, unable to find a school place of their choice seeing their grandchildren thrown into a school where English is just another second language accompanied by the cultural alienation of indigenous children deliberately unremarked by their teachers.

A particularly pernicious and repeated accusation made by Young Remainers against Old Leavers is that that oldies are ignorant and uneducated. But as an oldie friend of mine perceptively pointed out (he is sixty with a Master’s degree from a first class university) an ‘A’ level from the seventies is the equivalent of a degree these days, because the 50% of school leavers now expected to enrol in higher education have brought their appallingly low standards of literacy and numeracy with them.

One only has to witness the astounding success of the University of the Third Age to understand the thirst for learning among oldies. As I know from my talks to the U3A, even small market towns can muster an audience of 100 or more on a wet afternoon to listen to expert guest speakers.  It is oldies all those BBC and Sky historical, cultural and political documentaries are aimed at.

Tellingly, oldies are far more likely to be better informed than the young on current affairs (such as, er, the European Union). Oldies are the ones who, as part of a lifelong habit, still buy papers and watch the evening news rather than relying on the instant, undeveloped and unformulated opinions echoing around the internet with its self-censoring partisan promotion of knee-jerk, virtue-signalling opinions.

But; ‘Being ageist is soooo uncool, innit, bruv?’



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14 Comments on Brexit ? Its Grandad what done it.

  1. The older generation who overwhelmingly voted to Leave in the EU referendum were the same generation who overwhelmingly voted to Remain in the 1975 referendum on the Common Market. The arguments to Remain were largely the same then as now. The older generation saw life in the UK before the EU, have spent 40 years of their lives within the EU, and have then decided to vote to leave the EU, reversing their original decision. Surely this is significant?

    Surely this is more significant that the fact that the younger generation today on the whole voted to Remain. They have had very little experience or knowledge of the EU, and did not know what the UK was like before, and so have no comparison. Like the older generation, in 40 years time, they may have changed their minds.

    • G:
      Are you suggesting that Britain was a better place before joining the EU? If you are let me put you right: Britain in the 50s, 60s, 70s and early 80s was a complete bloody shambles; industrially, socially, politically and by just about any other measure you can imagine. Joining the EU was a last desperate act when ruin stared Britain in the face, the same ruin incidentally that Britain, or at least England (as Scotland will split and rejoin) will face when the economic facts of life come calling after Brexit actually occurs (which I believe is not going to happen, nobody could be that stupid, could they?). England has a fuel deficit, a food deficit, a technology deficit, a skilled trade deficit and financially a current account and trade deficit. All this while a member of a protected market of more than 550 million people, and fantasists like Hannan think there is some great market out there where Britain will prosper!

  2. “instant, undeveloped and unformulated opinions echoing around the internet with its self-censoring partisan promotion of knee-jerk, virtue-signalling opinions.”

    Quite a good description of this article – the worst I’ve read on Brexit. There’s no evidence to back up any points…I’m not sure you’d get that A-level your friend was describing.

  3. This table is a breakdown of British population by age/% of population in 2014, from the office for national Statistics:
    0-14 17.7
    15-29 19.4
    30-44 19.7
    45-59 20.1
    60-74 15.0
    75 & over 8.1
    All ages 100.0

    If we breakout ages 18-29 we get approximately 15.5% in that category of voting age. If we assume that 60+ are the “leavers” then 23.1% of the population supported leave against the 55.3% of the under 60 population who presumably supported “remain”. How then did “leave” win? The answer to that is probably that the old voted and the young didn’t.
    Moving on; I am 68 years old, if I were still living in Wembley instead of Clearwater FL (God has truly smiled upon me) I would have campaigned for and voted to remain, as I did in the 1975 referendum. My reason for that is quite simple; Britain would be better served if split into regions and governed by the managerial bureaucrats in Brussels and the European Parliament.
    So you think the wrinklies voted “leave” for the sake of their posterity! Any realistic study of British history from about 1840 on forces one to conclude that the Parliament at Westminster has failed miserably at every challenge it has faced: It failed to address the educational crisis in Britain when Britain failed to meet the technical (and therefore industrial/commercial) prowess of the United States, Germany and France thereby falling from the world’s largest economy in 1865 to the fourth in 1905. It failed to keep Britain out of WW1, a struggle in which the war aims of the contestants did not involve Britain at all. It failed to address the poverty and squalor rampant in British society through the depression. It failed to keep Britain out of WW2, a conflict in which Britain was an even more peripheral player than WW1. Finally, and worst, Westminster failed to address mass third world immigration into Britain post WW2, thereby ensuring the permanent and irreversible destruction of the English people. That last is mirrored here in the US where mass, completely uncontrolled immigration from Central and South America will destroy the historical American nation and turn the USA into Brazil north.
    Britain is now in very deep trouble, Theresa May is going to need huge political skill and luck to keep England particularly from ruin.

    • Well the problem I find with the list of failures of the UK Government is that it appears to make some comparison with the perfect record of whom exactly? Enlighten us as to which Government anywhere in the same time frame which didn’t cock it all up at some or even many more points along the same route.
      As for being governed by Brussels I could just mention democracy and previous referenda or blundering around in the Ukraine or leaving Greece high and dry after sweet talking them in to signing up to this grotesque political project the Euro. None of those bode well for the future development of the EU. It might be as well to remember that.

      • Tom,
        The Govt. of the United States didn’t “cock it up”, at least until post WW2 when they discovered the joys of imperial hubris.
        Westminster/Whitehall didn’t fail at everything; they did maintain privilege, which was all along their primary function.
        “future development of the EU”? It’s the Fourth Reich Tom. Britain may temporarily escape although I will believe that when I see it. What is most likely is that if Britain leaves, then Britain will crawl back in in 20 years or so and swallow the whole deal, including the Euro.

  4. Most of what the author ascribes to is merely the “mainstream media” and not the real voice of young people.
    The 60s was probably more critical for the huge immediate drops in the standards of our culture and society than what we are seeing today. At least kids today have the excuse that they have been totally indoctrinated.

  5. If Oldies watch the Evening news, they are probably well versed in the liberal – left bias of much if it.

    To many of the young of course, this bias resonates with their own unchallenged liberal assumptions. Unchallenged because they have never heard anything else, anywhere, Especially not in their Universities,