The Liberal Elites

After the referendum result was declared and it was announced that the UK would leave the European Union, the media was knocked into a frenzy saying the liberal elites had been defeated.

The talk of neo-liberal elites invites images of CEOs and politicians in darkened rooms plotting how to make more profits by screwing an extra 15 minutes of work out of their workers or conjuring up complex schemes to avoid paying corporation tax.

However, last month I was sat in a hotel in Bucharest on a business trip and I came to the stark realisation that the term liberal elites describes a much wider group of people. In fact, the group includes most of us who work in technology. It includes me.

If you're earning over £30k in the United Kingdom, you are in the top 30% of wage earners. If you're earning over £60k, you are in the top 4%.

It then occurred to me that I am friendly with more people that were not born in the UK than I am with people on the minimum wage. In fact, I am ashamed to say that I don't know anyone on first name terms who earns the minimum wage.

That realisation made me rather uncomfortable. I am, like the people at Westminster, living in a bubble.

I believe immigration is a great thing because it brings me into contact with all sort of different people. These people bring different skills and viewpoints that not only help us do business better but ultimately help me to become a better person as well.

This is the mistake of the liberal elites: just because I see the world this way doesn't mean that everyone does. When you're at the lower end of the income scale, this immigration might be viewed quite differently: as an attack on your ability to put a roof over your head.

The mistake was that the liberal elites signed us up to free movement of people and capital and I cheered them on.

But they neglected to bring the poor along with them. What was in it for them?

To me, that was the cause of Brexit. We should have promoted the benefits of immigration better while ensuring that the poorest in society were not left behind.

  1. 2016-12-23 21:41:00 GMT
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