Some notable stats from YouGov today:
61% of leave voters think that significant damage to the economy is a price worth paying for brexit as long as it doesn’t affect them much.
39% of leave voters think that themselves of a family member losing their job is a price worth paying for brexit
19% of remain voters want to see brexit damage the economy so they are proved right, which might be a bit of a pyrrhic victory given the stats above.
For leavers, there is a strong correlation between age and being content with economic damage. At age 65+, 71% of leavers are happy with the prospect of inflicting significant economic damage upon their relatives.
This highlights an ironic failure in David Cameron’s strategy. He insulated pensioners from the economy such that even as wages fell, pension household income grew. He based his EU remain campaign on the economy and was surprised to find that pensioners didn’t care about it.
These stats go further than simply not caring about the economy and are surprising, no, astonishing, in that the large majority of pensioners are happy to see their children and grandchildren lose their jobs in the name of brexit. You could simply say this is incredibly selfish and leave it at that. I’m discontent with this explanation because I think that people in general are a bit selfish, but not incredibly selfish. I also don’t think they’d happily admit to being incredibly selfish in an opinion poll. Therefore I propose that instead of actual malice, this is more likely to be widespread delusional and cult-like thinking brought about by sustained exposure to tabloids and little interaction with the working-aged world.
With the triple lock in place and wages suppressed by brexit we will likely see the difference between pensioner income and worker income grow quickly over the next few years. Note that the average pension-age household already earns more than the average working age household in the UK. This isn’t particularly good news for pensioners as it increases the chance of them suffering a very sharp correction when public resentment bubbles over a critical threshold.
Or, as Margaret Thatcher said, the problem with socialists is they eventually run out of other people’s money.