Elite who?

I am annoyed by the constant references to “elites” in the Brexit debate. As if city-dwelling, bachelor-holding, remain-supporting people were all part of some privileged class watching with contempt everybody else [1]. 

I see nothing “elite” about the millions Erasmus students living abroad, nothing elite about the waiters and chefs and startup employees populating London and Berlin and Barcelona and many other European cities. 

The vast majority of these people (and I put myself in this group) come from the same provinces, small cities and rural areas that in England have voted massively for Brexit and where anti-EU parties get most of their support in other countries. Their parents are factory workers, civil servants, shop owners, small entrepreneurs. They went to (free) public schools and travelled around thanks to EU supported programs like Erasmus, where they learned to speak a new language and maybe fell in love with a boy or girl from another country. 

The promise of Europe has nothing to do with privilege. And the majority of its supporter are the product of the inclusiveness, equality of opportunity, social and economical mobility that are the very heart of the European post WW2 identity. This is the exact opposite of elite. 

What is true, however, it that we are failing at this promise. Keeping it alive is the only way we can stop this reckless ride. The alternative is hard cold wall. 


[1] Some stats are here