- Jul 4, 2010
- Reaction score
Boomers and the like had nothing to do with WWII or Normandy. In order to have even been of age during WWII (18 years by VE day in 1945), one needs to have been born no later than mid-1927.They blamed the old, the same old who charged the beaches of Normandy, the same old who built this country, and gave the young the wonderful standard of life they have. Their ungrateful behaviour knew no bounds, having contributed nothing themselves, and then insult the elders who they should thank day and night for their freedoms.
Meaning that in order to have even been of age during WWII, by the time of the June 2016 EU referendum, you need to have been at least >89 years old. To put this into perspective, that's a little over >0.61% of the entire UK population (both sexes included).
To give you a rough estimate of how many living WWII veterans there would have been at the time of the June 2016 referendum, we can refer to the 2015 armed forces population survey. As you can see in breakdown by age on Page 5, Table 1, by 2015, those aged 90 and above are roughly 125,000.
Even if I were to be generous and grossly stretch the statistic and say that 150,000 of them were alive at the time. And then make the completely false set of assumptions that says that 100% voted in the referendum and 100% of them voted to leave the EU... It would still only be 150,000 WWII veterans out of 17.41 million leave voters, or in other words only 0.0086% of the total leave vote. That's not even one in a thousand leave voters, despite me making every favorable false assumption and stretching the stats massively.
In fact, there's scant evidence that the WWII veterans or the war era generation are even pro-Brexit or pro-leave. There is some evidence out there to suggest that the WWII era generation are in fact way more pro-EU on average than their younger peers in the over 65s bracket, perhaps even second only to millennials:
See the way the chart below on attitudes towards the EU changes between generally boomer and post war generations, vs much more positive attitudes from the WWII era generation, almost mirroring the young:
Source: https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/brexit/2019...neration-are-almost-as-pro-eu-as-millennials/Figure 1: Image of the EU among different generations in the UK
Note: For both charts, a higher value indicates a more negative image of the EU
One explanation for these results is that the war generation give a premium to the pacific benefits of European institutions. Having experienced first-hand the horrors of war, they place a high value on the founding principles of unity that the EU promotes. The most recent generations also view integration more positively, given that these individuals have grown up with the UK’s membership of the EU as the norm.
Other related sources: https://www.csmonitor.com/World/Europe/2019/0328/Battle-of-Britain-s-history-How-the-myth-of-WWII-shaped-Brexit
I think therefore it's fair to say that most likely the WWII era generation probably didn't vote too much in favor of leave, certainly nowhere near the same level as all over 65s. And to conflate the leave vote with the war is both a gross exaggeration and incorrect as borne out by multiple facts.
Apologies for the long essay, I've heard a lot of people talk about the Brexit vote in these terms, and I believe it needed to be challenged.