The VICELAND UK Census: How Young People Feel About Britain, Politics and Discrimination

The first set of results from our survey of over 2,500 VICE readers.

by VICE Staff
19 September 2016, 12:05pm

We spoke to over 2,500 18 to 34-year-olds living in the UK to explore and document what life is like for young people in Britain in 2016. From Blackpool to Belfast, from country fairs to council estates, the nation's youth told us exactly how they felt about money, politics, drugs, sex, music, clothes and everything else that matters. This is the VICELAND Census, all this week on VICELAND and VICE.COM.

Later this week we'll be looking at sex and relationships, crime and drugs, and popular culture, but this first set of results is about Britain, politics and discrimination.

Can you sum up Britain in one word?

The UK is in a weird place at the moment. For many Brits who think of themselves as kind and cosmopolitan, it's hard to comprehend some of the defining facets of the UK in 2016: Brexit, the rise of xenophobic attacks, the continuing popularity of Russell Howard.

Sometimes, though, it's not really clear how much of all this bad stuff filters through to people on a day-to-day basis. So to start the VICELAND UK Census, we asked you what you thought of Britain – its heroes, villains, politics and prejudices. Here are some of the results, as well as bits from our video census.

You can watch the full thing all day on VICELAND on Sky channel 153 and NOW TV.


(Photo: Chatham House)

We asked people which politician they would shout "wanker" at if they passed them in the street. Donald Trump was number one, with Nigel Farage second and Boris Johnson third. Interestingly, that top three stayed the same even among people who voted Conservative at the last election, suggesting those three pantomime villains have managed to transcend party politics. Things started to differ after that: VICE readers in general picked Theresa May and Nick Clegg to make up their top five, whereas Tory voters went for Jeremy Corbyn and Hillary Clinton.

When the question was broadened out to "Which living person do you least admire?" Nigel Farage jumped into first place, followed by David Cameron and Boris Johnson. Also mentioned were "my neighbour Steve he's a fuck head" and "any skinny jean wearing lads".

VICE writer Joel Golby received one vote for being the least admired. Too right.


Collage by Marta Parszeniew

In a year in which attacks against British Muslims rose by 300 percent, it's perhaps unsurprising that readers felt Muslims were the group most discriminated against. And following the election of a Tory government that promised sweeping welfare cuts and were accused of declaring "war on the poor", and a Brexit debate full of inflammatory anti-immigration rhetoric, EU migrants and "poor people" also both scored highly.

You can see the full breakdown below:

In response to another question, a third of young people told us they have a friend who they would consider xenophobic. We also asked people what they'd do if they were having a conversation with a family friend who said something they considered as being xenophobic: 72 percent said they would confront them in front of everyone; 12 percent said they would confront them in private; 15 percent said they wouldn't confront them at all. Mind you, some of that last little lot are probably self-identifying xenophobes, too.


Photo by Chris Bethell

Young people don't feel a strong sense of patriotism.

When asked to rate how patriotic they feel on a scale of 0 to 10, where 10 represents feeling hugely patriotic, a quarter (25 percent) chose 0 out of 10 and only three percent of the respondents chose 10 out of 10.

But the results weren't the same across different political leanings:

Perhaps the Daily Mail is right after all: Corbyn-supporting Remainers really don't love their country.

READ: Why Young People Are Wrong to Abandon Patriotism


Credit: Carl Wilson

David Attenborough is the most admired British person alive in 2016, with seven percent of all respondents mentioning him when asked to name the best living Brit.

He was closely followed by Jeremy Corbyn, "my mum" and Stephen Fry.

The only women in the top 10 were JK Rowling, Emma Watson and The Queen. The Queen? You lot are quite basic.

What's the best thing about being British?

Twenty people said Louis Theroux, 13 people picked the conscious rapper Akala, seven said Stewart Lee and five said Mike Skinner.

Three people chose Matt Bellamy from Muse. Tellingly, nearly all of them misspelt his name.

Joel Golby received one vote for being the most admired. FFS.

Here are the top 10 most admired living Brits in full:

  1. Sir David Attenborough
  2. Jeremy Corbyn
  3. "My mum"
  4. Stephen Fry
  5. Stephen Hawking
  6. JK Rowling
  7. Emma Watson
  8. "Me", "Myself", "I'm a legend", etc
  9. Richard Branson
  10. The Queen

More on the VICELAND UK Census:

Why Young People Are Wrong to Abandon Patriotism

Watch VICELAND on your TV right now