However we voted, anyone working with disadvantaged communities and low income households needs to pay sharp attention to what happens next.
I’ve blogged before about how disenfranchised many Quids in! readers and social tenants more widely are. They are talked about a lot but rarely listened to. Before the last general election, I noted how only the SNP seemed to be calling out the government on issues that matter to less well-off communities, (austerity, for example). Meanwhile, Labour was fighting a losing battle by engaging the Tories on their own territory of economic discipline and welfare reform.
For many who feel remote from influence over events in Westminster, the most power they usally feel they wield is voting out acts from Strictly Come Dancing and X-Factor. To the earnest metropolitan elites who mainly voted Remain, this may sound sniggeringly plebeian but had they thought about it, they might have been less surprised by the result. Two names for anyone who’s interested: John Sergeant and Wagner! Both outstayed more talented rivals because viewers toyed with the judges! The British public really know how to frustrate a democratic process.
I’ve been genuinely shocked by the response of many Remain campaigners. I’ve heard such vitriol that it’s been hard not to accuse people of class hatred. On the other hand, scenes up and down the country of racial abuse – and closer to home, witnessing a pretty vile example of homophobia – are equally hard to stomach. It has felt at times like no-one got their country back, the whole place went to Hell.
So the ‘have nots’ gave the ‘haves’ a bloody nose. Good for them. But it’s not a fair fight and the people who hold control, many of the Remainers, are not likely to lose any sleep if Wales and Cornwall do not see the regeneration funding they enjoyed from the EU or if unemployment soars because Nissan pull out of Sunderland. Just remember these communities did not throw the first punch. Maybe we all should be listening harder to them.
So what matters for those of us engaging less well-off communities is trying to keep life to business as usual. In the first instance, I believe it's down to us to implement a zero tolerance response to anyone, from both camps, who demonstrates any form of intolerance. The future is likely to hold a mixed bag of good and bad for all of us and no-one is likely to feel they won what they thought they voted for. Frustrations will rise and tempers will flare. If we want the country to make the best of things, we need to make respect central to all we do.
It's going to be tough but, despite not having much to start with, our communities have most to lose.