Former Justice Secretary and one-time candidate for the Conservative party Michael Gove says that one of the reasons that Britain voted for Brexit is that the public didn’t like being “slut-shamed” and patronised by the establishment in the run-up to the EU referendum.
Writing in his new column for The Times — where he worked before going into politics — Gove, one of the most prominent figures in the Leave campaign, argued that Brits railed against the supposedly patronising views of the establishment, and the financial sector in particular, writing:
“The British people, understandably, didn’t like being patronised or slut-shamed so they looked closely, and with increasing attention, to the arguments. They saw that the ‘reformed’ EU we were being invited to stay in was fundamentally unchanged and this latest promise that the Union would mend its ways was, like all the other pledges of reform from Maastricht onwards, as empty as Jean-Claude Juncker’s burgundy bottle after lunch.”
Gove’s argument is that when in the run-up to the vote, almost every single major international organisation and financial services firm — or as Gove puts it “the leaders of assorted organisations with acronyms for titles” — warned of the potentially disastrous consequences of Brexit, people ignored them because they were the very same “people who brought you the crash of 2008.” Brits also voted to leave because they didn’t like being called racist for having concerns about mass immigration, Gove says.
Gove’s turn of phrase is a strange one, given that slut shaming is usually used as a term for criticising and trying to make people feel guilty or inferior for having unorthodox sexual habits or desires. It is almost exclusively used in the unfair criticism of women. Slut shaming is also used to silence victims of sexual assault or rape and shift the blame for the crime on the victim rather than the perpetrator. The phrase is very rarely used in any other context, particularly not when discussing the UK’s historic vote.
The former minister, who was sacked by PM Theresa May in July, also used his first column to argue that Brexit was not a vote about completely shutting the UK’s borders to immigration, but actually about “democratic control” of immigration into the country which he defines as ” an immigration policy based on skills rather than geography.”
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