Not only was the question the wrong one, it failed to address the issue that really underlies Divided Britain. It is this: the average well-being of people is not dependent on National Income or Economic Growth. It is dependent on the differences between us. When we look around and see others who have much more or less than us, it affects us profoundly. It affects us in a way that contains envy, despair, disappointment, injustice and disillusionment at one end and relief, self-congratulation, status and protectionist instinct at the other. Politicians’ failure to acknowledge, let alone deal with this issue is the reason we are where we are now. It is also the reason why trust in politicians is at its lowest ever.
It is not Europe nor membership of the the EU; that is a proxy for discontent. The tragedy is that politicians will now run around addressing the wrong issue. Whether we are in or out, inequality is the psycho-social source of our problems as a nation. It is a bitter pill, but after 100 years since Freud, our politicians are psycho-socially illiterate.
“It’s the economy stupid!” says it all. Across the world well-being is not dependent on national income or economic growth – except in developing pre-industrial countries. It is based upon the comparisons each of us make with others; how well am I doing compared to the people I see on TV, in magazines, on Facebook, on my streets or the streets of other places?
Looking at the split between Remainers and Leavers I am confident the blue/yellow map is a map of places at the top or bottom of the income gradient. And not just income, but also psycho-social problems of which Richard Wilkinson measures ten.
At the top you would find Remainers, at the bottom, Leavers.
My point? Worrying about whether we’re in or out is worrying about the wrong thing. Obsessing over the details of leaving is devoting our energies to the wrong thing. Unless we focus on reducing Income Inequality, we will remain broken Britain.
Please, please so that we don’t spend another twenty years tackling the wrong problems, watch Richard Wilkinson’s brilliant analysis! It could be 16 minutes that will change your life! At the very least is will give you an evidence based explanation for our current plight.
If like me, you are fortunate enough to be at the privileged end of the gradient, the Leavers wanted you to know just how pissed off – with you and your cosmopolitan buddies (cf Europe) – they are. This is a psycho-social phenomenon known as ‘envious spoiling’ or ‘If I can’t have it, then you won’t too!’
We are all poorer, economically, psychologically, socially this morning. But for a while we really are in it together! And ‘it’ is the shit!