An Interview With...a Brexiter

Brexit is an issue which has dominated national and international media since 2015 for a variety of reasons, the main one being the uncertainty surrounding the consequences of leaving the European Union. The vote in 2016 was very close to being an even split, with 51.89% voting Leave and 48.11% voting Remain. This vote was particularly monumental because of the surge in turnout of young voters. This meant that the way the Brexit debate was presented in the media, especially the information that was delivered via social media platforms, had considerable influence over the opinions formed by many voters. I spoke to one of my housemates, a 2nd year Mechanical Engineering student who voted Leave, to better understand her reasons behind doing so.

 

Have you always been affiliated with a particular political party? Did any factors around you influence your vote?

Not particularly, because I agree with different aspects of the principles of both parties but I generally have more faith in the Tories. In terms of the Labour Party, I like how they want equality for all and social justice.  The Tories will ultimately let the elite keep more of their money. I like this attitude of encouraging self-determination. I would vote Greens or Tory because of my interest in sustainability as an engineering student, and hence I think I would align myself with them politically as well. In Bristol everyone votes Green or Labour. Bristol as a city is very green and it’s quite ahead for sustainable futures and this has influenced my interest in the Greens; I never thought about it until I moved here.

 

Did you follow Brexit coverage closely in the time leading up to the vote? What type of area do you live in? 

I did follow Brexit coverage and read articles on sites such as the BBC for a clearer understanding of the different arguments. I skim-read the Daily Mail on a fairly regular basis. At school they held a mock referendum. There was a mock debate between several Politics students and eventually about 90% of the students at the assembly voted remain. I live in quite a middle class, objectively affluent area. My exact row isn’t necessarily the most affluent but the area as a whole is fairly middle class. There are a lot of grammar schools in the area and it is close to London, so making it a comparatively expensive area to live in as well.

 

Why did you vote Brexit?

The general reason was the concept of having a closer degree control for citizens to change the law. I feel I don’t have power over what the EU says. Immigration was another issue, because I didn’t really see it very much of it in my area but I saw on the news that schools were crowded and full of students who couldn’t speak English and I thought that voting Brexit would give the UK better border control. There should be a better system for refugees, both European and otherwise, but teachers can’t effectively teach children in overcrowded classrooms. I felt that as part of the EU we wouldn’t have a choice of how many people we could accept.

 

Looking back, would you change your vote?

Currently, no. Because I still think that the main issue is the trade deals, because if taxes are up a mile high it would give more chances for local businesses to thrive. But if you ask me that question in a year it could be a different answer.

 

Would you tell your friends you had voted Brexit?

I would tell my friends I voted leave, but I wouldn’t post it on social media.