An Uncertain Future: Life after the GE

It has been almost a year since the British population voted to leave the European Union and what have we learned? One could argue not much – neither side seems to have budged on their views. Nine months after the vote, an almost equal amount of citizens believe that Britain was right to vote for Brexit (44%) versus those who believe it was wrong (43%), according to a YouGov poll conducted in March 2017.

But when Theresa May called a snap election for June, we decided to leave London to find out how British consumers felt about another trip to the polling station, as well as their concerns about the future. When we ventured out to find these diverse voices we did so with a couple of things in mind. Firstly, to discover if consumer disillusionment was as strong as it was a year ago when we covered The Dislocated World. In that macrotrend, we explored how globalisation, rapid technological advancement and short-term thinking have led to a climate of distrust. Would these voters be putting their faith in the system? Or disregarding it?

We also wanted to ensure that we moved outside our own filter bubble. We work in a very nice office with a very nice dog in East London. Our clothes are often monochrome and our haircuts sharp. We exemplify a version of the London liberal elite, but we are determined to look outside ourselves. Earlier this year, we explored The American Middle, an examination of the Middle America population who are often derided and ignored by brands, but who have a powerful voice – as exemplified by the election of Donald Trump. Here we give a voice to those who are also often ignored in Middle England to understand what the year of political uncertainty has done to their outlook on life.

The people we spoke to for this series come from a variety of places and have varied personal histories. In his 50s, Milton Keynes dairy farmer Nigel Stacey is a member of the non-partisan National Farmers’ Union and is concerned that the outcome of this election will determine how fairly agriculture is treated during the following Brexit negotiations. Political refugee and current Cardiff University graduate student Privilege Nyathi, 33, found his civic duty after the Leave campaign won and will now be voting for the first time in a British election and is leaning towards Labour. He sees Brexit as a sign that Western civilisation is on the decline.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Gilly Foortse, 61, a deputy mayor of a small market town in Norfolk,, sees nothing cataclysmic coming out of either Brexit or the election – for her any economic uncertainty is just part of the ups and downs of life. And lastly, Harsimrat Kaur, 25, a retail insight manager from Leeds and founder of the group Sikh Tories is optimistic that a Conservative win will be the best for Britain in the long term.

An Uncertain Future: On Immigration


London – In part two of our original documentary series An Uncertain Future, we speak to four diverse consumers about how they feel immigration might change after Britain has left the European Union (EU).

When the referendum results were announced, with 52% of Britons voting to leave the EU, many pundits concluded that the vote was really a vote on immigration. One of the key pledges of the Conservative party is to reduce net migration to less then 100,000 migrants a year – down from the 273,000 that entered the country in the year to September 2016, according to the Office for National Statistics. In contrast, the Labour party, which has not yet released a figure, has promised to deliver a ‘fair’ immigration policy, while the Liberal Democrats have pledged to not impose a limit on immigration levels and want to remove students from official migration statistics. But did immigration have an impact on how our interviewees in Milton Keynes, Leeds, Cardiff and Norfolk voted?

To hear from Conservative Party member and Sikh Tories founder Harsimrat Kaur about why immigration was essential to her vote to leave the EU, despite being a second-generation immigrant, and why she believes it will make Britain a more open society, watch An Uncertain Future: On Immigration now.
An Uncertain Future: Britain in 2022


London – When trying to imagine what life will be like in 2022, opinions range from confident optimism to hesitant hopefulness.

Part three of An Uncertain Future asked our participants to think about their lives in five years, when, in theory, Brexit negotiations should be complete, we will be out of the European Union and another general election is on the horizon. Dairy farmer Nigel is the most pessimistic about the future, perhaps because he also has the most at stake when it comes to his farm. With the current government unwilling to make any promises about replacing EU subsidies with their own government programmes, Nigel feels abandoned.

The Conservative voters that we met on our travels had a decidedly more optimistic outlook on the future, with Harsimrat hoping that repealing the EU laws will make Britain great again. Although inflation may rise to up to 3% in that time, she is unconcerned and does not believe it will affect her spending. Their optimism may not reflect the views of the country as a whole, however, with a recent consumer confidence survey by Nielsen revealing that Leave voters’ confidence fell from 109 in January to 106 after Article 50 was triggered. The survey uses 100 as a baseline for degrees of optimism and pessimism. The confidence of Remain voters is at 97.

Watch parts one and two of our series to hear views on the current political landscape and why immigration is a key issue for each of them.

© James Maiki