Conversations on a train, scene one: we’re on Eurostar and a white woman and a black man, both young, begin to talk. We know immediately that they are middle-class and have prospects; the clothes and reading matter proclaim it. He identifies himself as an Australian resident in France; she’s an English student.
They speculate: is the delay due to a protest by the Gilets jaunes? A refugee on the line? Those yellow vests are protesting against austerity, says the man, with a dash of sympathy. They’re populists, not to be trusted, a bit like the Brexiteers, she responds. The Brexiteers were also voting against austerity, the loss of jobs, loss of community, he argues. The Brexiteers are racist, anti-migration, white xenophobes in the grip of nostalgia for a past that never existed, she responds. No, he counters, ‘that’s too simplistic, that’s just hashtag politics. That response evades the question of class.’