Flamingo report finds post-Brexit Britain to be a 'wounded and rudderless place'
Flamingo has revisited a piece of research conducted in the immediate aftermath of the EU referendum and found Britain to be united in frustration and disillusionment.
In the weeks following the 2016 EU referendum, Flamingo carried out research across the UK to understand how people were feeling in the wake of the historic vote. Feelings of shock, resentment and uncertainty abounded.
Two years on and with the UK government yet to clarify the details of our exit from the EU, Flamingo revisited the research to find out how, if at all, the mood of the nation had shifted.
We spoke to 18 people in five locations across the country; of those 18, six had taken part in the previous research, six were foreign nationals living in the UK, and six were voters who had been too young to vote at the time of the referendum. We spoke to each person at length and on their terms, unearthing emotional nuance and context that many of the polls and surveys conducted in the last two years have lacked.
What we found was that the UK today is a wounded and rudderless place. It is as divided as ever along lines of race, class, region and age. But the polarising jubilation, relief (and devastation) seen in the immediate aftermath of the vote have now been replaced by a more united sense of frustration, disillusionment, and a collective (and potentially dangerous) apathy towards mainstream politics.
More specifically, we picked up on four key shifts:
1. From Britain’s perceived strength to perceived weakness
2. Political empowerment to disempowerment
3. Voters were sold an emotional idea but delivered a theoretical one
4. Society has shifted from multi-culturalism to mono-culturalism
“It should be more open. I feel very shut out now because I’m not part of what is being negotiated any more.” Alison, Sheffield, (Leave, still Leave).
“People were excited and emboldened, and now they are burnt out.” Tamara, London, (Leave, now Remain).
“I’m hearing uncomfortable comments more often, and it’s getting more direct. People are taking the comments outside of their homes and being more open about it. People feel free-er to discuss things like immigration.” Jacob (EU national), Canterbury, (Remain, still Remain).
“They’re dragging their heels; it doesn’t take two years to leave the EU. There’s a lot to sort out, a lot to be done but it’s a very big step for the country, and they could have sped things up so we know where we stand.” Danielle (EU national) Barnstaple, (Leave, still Leave).
“I didn’t imagine it to be quite such a big black hole, I imagined more homework would have been done beforehand.” Paul, Machynlleth, (Leave, still Leave).
“You need a vested interest in politics, business and trade or you’re not able to pay that much attention — I just want to put my head in the sand until it’s all over!” Sita, Sheffield, (Remain, still Remain).
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