Here in the Divided Kingdom (formerly known as the UK) we are in the grip of an unprecedented epidemic of Fuckwittery. What started as predominantly a Social Media Disease has now become widespread among the general population, and there has been a huge spike in cases since the Brexit vote last Thursday.
Lets look at one example. A belief has taken hold that it is largely ‘The Older Generation’ who voted Leave. But the statistics may tell a different story: It is estimated that:
Of the 18-24 year olds who voted, about 75% voted Remain
Of those aged 65+ who voted, only about 39% voted Remain, BUT…
not everyone voted. The turnout among 18-24 year olds would be only about 36%, meaning that only 27% of the total age group (voters and non-voters) will actually have voted Remain. Among those aged 65+ the turnout was estimated to be 83%, meaning that the total percentage of the entire age group (voters and non-voters) that opted for Remain would be about 32%. Proportionally more people of ‘The Older Generation’ may actually have voted Remain than young people. But in this ‘post-factual’ era the truth is often less powerful than the things people are prepared to believe. And any politician knows this.
So, who are this ‘Older Generation’ that we are talking about? By and large they are those people born in the two decades immediately post-war, approximately 1946 – 1964 –often referred to as ‘Baby Boomers’. The oldest of this ‘Older Generation’ were born during or just prior to the Second World War, and are now in their seventies and eighties.
Now, I have no doubt that the majority of people, of any age, who voted Leave did so because they believed it was the best thing for the country for ecenomic reasons, or possibly reasons of sovreignty, and not for any racist or xenophobic reason, and could give many intelligently reasoned arguments as to why they did so. But unfortunately their voices have been drowned out by the fuckwits who have chosen to respond to the criticisms and complaints of the Remain camp by posting ill-thought out memes featuring pictures of WW2 soldiers marching into battle, or war cemetaries full of combatants from WW1 captioned with comments like: ‘So the older generation robbed us of our future in Europe? Really?’ or ‘Those who voted Remain weren’t there in ’45’.
Well, neither were the ones who voted Leave, to be honest. The youngest of the generation who fought to liberate Europe from Hitler are now in their nineties. They fought not just to keep the UK free, but to liberate vast swathes of Europe and the world. And crucially, they did not do it alone. They are not the generation who are being criticised for the outcome of the referendum, as I have said above, it is the Baby-Boomers who make up most of ‘The Older Generation’ now. Their parents are not here to have their say in this referendum, but they were here in 1975 when the last one was held. They made up a substantial proportion of the electorate then (and the outcome then was a vote to remain). So to invoke them in answer to the (unjust – see above) criticism of today’s ‘Older Generation’ is irrelevant and nonsensical.
I have also seen mini-essays posted on Facebook, couched in the scolding tones of an authoritarian parent taking to task an ungrateful child, stating that it was the working classes of this generation who ‘built your houses, hospitals, roads, grew your food, made your cars , mined your coal, fought your wars, built the welfare state and NHS’.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t that generation grow any food for use by themselves? Were they just stockpiling it for the future? Wouldn’t it all be horribly out-of-date by now?
Haven’t all the cars made by the Baby-boomers rusted away now? I don’t know about you, but mine was made by someone of my own generation.
Are you seriously telling me that ‘that’ generation didn’t use any of the coal they mined for themselves, because they needed it at the time? Were they just on yet another stockpiling excercise? Why are the younger generation not mining coal? Because they don’t have enough backbone to get off down t’pit, or because there is NO coal industry. Who destroyed the British mining industry? (Now ask yourselves who voted them in).
As for wars … see above, and all the younger men and women fighting for us now at cost of life and limb.
The Welfare State and the NHS? They weren’t instituted by the baby boomers, but by their parents’ and grandparents’ generation.
So, what is the point of this rant? Well, it’s this — I know what’s done is done, it was a democratic vote, and everyone who voted had what they believed to be sound reasons for voting the way they did. But I’m very worried about what the result means for the future of this country. So, if I challenge your reasons and opinions, and you feel motivated to respond, please come back to me with a relevant and well-thought-out argument; convince me that you are right, and knew what you were doing when you made this choice. Because this is one instance when I’d be really, really happy to be proved wrong.