Brexit Never Just Meant Brexit

by Dan Mallon


“Brexit means Brexit” is one of the many cryptic slogans that constantly emanated from Theresa May’s shambolic – soon to be defunct – Tory Government. What it means is anybody’s guess. Many have speculated it is Theresa May opting for a hard Brexit over a soft Brexit, however these are not tangible constructs, they are mental constructs. The idea of a hard/soft Brexit are nothing more than negotiating positions and seeing as no one has sat around a table yet, nobody can say for sure what the consistency of Brexit will be once it’s finally baked. Considering the European Union (EU) wants to make an example of Britain so as to dissuade other countries from following suit means heading into a negotiation taking a soft approach, will only end in tears. The idea that EU super-state ideologues like Guy Verhofstadt, will simply roll over and allow Britain have an amicable divorce from their pet project, is naivety to the extreme. One thing is for certain though: May’s Tories sure as hell don’t understand what the Brexit vote meant.
Ever since Britain voted to leave the EU on the 23rd of June 2016, there has been a steady stream of diagnoses and theories as to why the referendum result fell the way it did. Some theories have been far more insightful than others; while many have resorted to the equivalent of ideological trench warfare. There is no doubt that the referendum was deeply divisive and as a result it ended up being close to a 50/50 split. To truly understand the result of the referendum, in all its mutifaceted complexity; requires to my mind, a stepping back from the equation and taking the focus off of any one, or few factors that have undoubtedly contributed to the situation and instead focus on what ties them all together. To do this Jeremy Corbyn’s stunning electoral victory needs to be cross examined with the initial Brexit vote, as there are some fascinating observations to be made.
Jan-Werner Muller writing in the London Review of Books, back on June the 2nd, 2016 asked the question “Would the Brexit debate have played out differently in a calmer, less crisis ridden Europe?”. A fascinating and important question to ask, one he goes on to look at in great detail, with some interesting insights. However, I feel he has somewhat failed to answer his own question, or perhaps more to the point, failed to ask the right question.
Surely a far more revealing question would have been “Would the Brexit debate have played out differently had the referendum taken place before the financial crash of 2008?”.
While Muller’s well thought out and reasoned analysis gets to the heart of the European question, it is largely from a vantage point out of reach to the average voter. His forensic examination of the European Union’s bureaucratic machinations and political convolutions, strangely neglects this very point. Perhaps he does so as he sees it as a moot point, considering – rightly – that the global recession was not caused by the EU; rather by a far more complex set of economic factors, that I won’t even begin to profess I fully understand. That being said, more than a finger can be pointed at the EU’s austerity driven policies that many European countries were forced under the spell of in the wake of the crash. However in this instance, Britain cannot – even though it did – blame the EU for wholeheartedly adopting austerity policies; that finger can be squarely pointed at the Tory led government that took power in 2010.
The European Commission, the European Central Bank and the British government worked hand in glove together to impose harsh austerity measures across the EU, just as the Obama administration had done in America. By 2015, austerity had been widely discredited as being grossly ineffective, highly damaging to economies and was the cause of much suffering in the countries it was imposed on. Everyone appeared to get the message, except for Britain. After David Cameron won a surprising outright majority in the May 2015 election, the Tory government doubled down on its austerity measures, under the insidiously incompetent hands of the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne.
This climate of austerity driven cuts – which the Tories effectively laid the blame for at the EU’s door – allowed for an environment of public resentment to build up around inward migration and the relatively small EU contributions of £8bn per annum; just 1.2% of public expenditure, which doesn’t account for the economic gains that membership affords. This is however, by no means an apology for the EU’s deeply regressive and repressive economic measures it imposed elsewhere. Nigel Farage’s UKIP party, whose sole mission was to exit the EU; effectively capitalised on this burgeoning state of malaise that had gripped the UK, by directing people’s anger and anguish away from the Tory led austerity programme and towards the EU’s policies. Chief among them being one of the central tenets of EU membership, free movement of people; as well as the annual contributions.
The question of immigration was one of the defining talking points in the debates around Brexit; however considering London – whose population, according to the 2011 UK Census has a 37% non British born demographic – voted overwhelmingly in favour of remain, clearly there is a far more fundamental issue at play. Immigration is integral for any country to grow and prosper, as people with different skills and different cultural backgrounds provide new and innovative approaches to a whole host of social and economic situations. That being said, uncontrolled immigration can also have adverse effects on societies, by driving down the cost of labour at the bottom; whilst simultaneously driving up rewards for the top.
Clearly cheap labour is attractive to companies in order to maximise their profit, however a hollowing out of the labour market like this can cause deep inequality, as well as deep resentments towards the foreign migrants. Not only is the cost of labour affected, workers rights can also end up being trampled, as new and enthusiastic migrants take up jobs caring little for the pay and conditions. This has manifested in things like zero-hour contracts and stagnant, unrealistic wages that people can’t afford to live on. When you add the insidious cuts to public pay and services. which have a greater and greater demand thrust upon them, is it any wonder people lash out when given a chance. Clearly this is not sustainable economically, socially or culturally and not just for Britain; but for the countries where talented and skilled people are often forced to leave their homes in search of a better life.
Considering high levels of immigration was not a major bone of contention in London, why then was it such a motivating factor in other parts of the UK? To assess this phenomenon we need to take a trip around Britain and have a brief history lesson. Britain’s political system has historically been built around two main political parties, who have been fundamentally orientated around class. The Tories aka the Conservative Party have historically been a right wing party who look after the interests of the wealthy, corporate sector and landowners. Labour on the other hand are traditionally a left wing party, who look after the interests of the working classes, espouse a more social outlook and who grew out of the trade union movement of the late 19th century. Travelling around Britain today and it is evident class is no longer the defining topic it used to be, instead it is geography. Starting in the late 70’s, deindustrialisation has had dramatic effects on whole regions of the UK; particularly the Midlands and Northern England, where once bastions of heavy industry such as shipbuilding, steelmaking and mining: now are dependent upon the service sector, where work is often unsatisfactory, insecure and low paid.
These regions were once Labour strongholds and people who grew up there came from cultural backgrounds that equipped them for reasonably well paid manual labour, that provided a sense of identity, community and self worth. After Thatcher began the process of deindustrialisation, it was a slippery slope to where these regions are today. Tony Blair’s New Labour government, elected in 1997 saw the traditional ties with the these areas all but severed as he pursued Thatcher’s neo-liberal policies, continuing to slash manufacturing and focusing on a knowledge based economy. What was once sold as economic modernisation – now known as globalisation – has become industrial decay, with nothing of any substance to fill the void.
The North-South divide is important because whereas places such as London have massively diverse economies that can swallow up the effects of low cost labour without it being readily apparent; places like Sunderland are entirely different, with the economy comparatively stagnant; issues like immigration can become easy targets.
Following the betrayal by Labour to their traditional base – enter UKIP stage right. Picking up on the palpable discontent among huge swathes of the British electorate and massaging it to their own ends; immigration became the burning topic with both sides using it inversely to bolster their positions. Leave campaigners used immigration as an easy target to direct their anger at, while remain campaigners refused to acknowledge any issues surrounding uncontrolled immigration and branded anyone who dare mention it a racists and xenophobic.
The vote for Brexit has widely been claimed to be a protest vote, although the protest seems to have largely been misdirected towards the EU, whilst ignoring the glaringly obvious. That being said, I would personally guess that behind all the smoke and mirrors – and of course obvious cases of racism and xenophobia – people deep down and quite unconsciously knew exactly what they were protesting about. Which brings me back to the question “Would the Brexit debate have played out differently had the referendum taken place before the financial crash of 2008?”. I personally don’t think there would have been a debate; certainly not one that would have led to a referendum result like the one on the 23rd of June. None of this is to say the EU as an entity is not deeply dysfunctional and probably needs to be broken up before it can be put back together again; however it would be more than a little disingenuous in this instance to say that all roads to lead to Rome – en route to Brussels.
This neatly brings me round to the more recent developments – the spectacular results of the UK general election. Defying all odds and predictions and surviving a sustained and deeply cynical, full frontal assault by the various wings of the UK media, not to mention a hideously hostile, Blarite filled parliamentary party – Jeremy Corbyn came up trumps. Unlike Donald Trump however, Corbyn is no populist; rather he is simply popular and for good reason. There has already been fierce debate as to how and why Labour managed to make this record smashing turn around. Some people are convinced it can be boiled down to a Remainer revolt; while others point to May’s insipid campaign and lack of clarity. Clearly there is more than a grain of truth to be found in these positions; May really was awful and the remain vote had to find a home somewhere: however these are not what lit the fire in the Momentum train.
One only has to look at the bizarre campaign the Liberal Democrats had to put the anti-Brexit backlash argument to bed. They threw everything they could muster at the despondent Remainer demographic, running a passionate, youth centered campaign and came up with paltry returns. They lost 5 seats, then picked up 8 to give them a grand total of 12, 3 more than what they started with. Nick Clegg, perhaps one of the most passionate Remainers even lost his seat, a seat he had held for 12 years. After the Brexit referendum there was an attempt to polarise the nation along the lines of age. Older voters said to have voted Leave, while younger voters Remain. Considering they hardly showed up to vote, it is hardly a fair appraisal. Contrast that to a historic show of support from the 18-24 year olds, who practically all came out to vote for Corbyn on a Brexit platform and this theory is utterly demolished.
The result in Scotland is possibly even more bizarre, particularly in light of the string of elections they have been through in recent years. They lost a third of their seats, the bulk going to the Tories and surprisingly not to Labour. Clearly the issue of independence has been postponed for at least a generation, if not two. Voted against independence, voted against Brexit; outraged at being dragged out of the EU against their will and widely touted as getting and voting for a 2nd independence referendum. Nope, not the case apparently, not after losing two of their heavy hitters.
Then there is Northern Ireland, perhaps the most ironic of all. Theresa May’s ashen faced failure to secure a majority has led to her having to go begging to the only major party who actually voted in unison for Brexit. The DUP of course hold a double dose of irony for the Tories who clamoured to accuse Corbyn of having ties to Sinn Fein and being an IRA sympathiser. The DUP just so happen to be the flip side of that IRA coin.
Last but not least is the demise of UKIP, whose voters seemed to have developed bi-polar and split down the middle between Labour and the Tories. With strong gains in the North, clearly those left leaning UKIP voters – the crucial swing vote in the Brexit referendum – came back home to where they belong. Why is that?
Perhaps it is because Labour under Jeremy Corbyn went back to its roots, it stood for something. It stood for everyone. What began as an election focused on Brexit, very quickly became an election centred on domestic policy. After years of brutal austerity and a starved public sector, Corbyn’s manifesto is exactly what the doctor ordered. Corbyn’s electoral victory is truly awe inspiring. Imagine if his party had of spent their time wiser, banding around him and giving their full support; rather than fighting with each other over who would stab him in the back next. Imagine if the media hadn’t have spent over a year ridiculing him and had given him a fair platform. I reckon he would be sitting comfortably in No. 10 right now.
I have always felt Brexit was the right decision, but for the wrong reasons. It felt at the time like a missed opportunity to challenge the EU and drag it back from its all consuming trajectory. Just as individuals need strong boundaries to thrive and just as enmeshed codependent relationships are detrimental to people’s well being, it is clearly the same for countries, as the EU’s crisis ridden reality is a testament too. We need less Europe Mr. Verhofstadt, not more. We need healthy separation, not forced codependence. Cooperation will surely follow.
Considering Corbyn’s long held position vis-a-vis the EU and considering how he managed to lead a Brexit campaign that picked up so much support, particularly from the young; all without having to resort to gutter politics or project fear. Perhaps the most interesting question to ask would be:

“Would the Brexit debate have played out differently had Jeremy Corbyn campaigned for Brexit, as he surely would have liked to do; with the vision and inspiration of his general election campaign?”


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Kay.soomal
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Kay.soomal
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Love this!! Could you possibly read my post on Brexit and give your insight? I’m new to blogging and was hoping I could get some feedback.

antidotesformodernlife
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I live in an area that voted 70% Leave. It’s a northern post-industrial town, left to ‘managed decline’ and beached long ago by the rising tide that floats all boats. We don’t have a a major immigration issue as it’s not somewhere people particularly want to move to. Despite the right-wing press’ rhetoric about Leavers, I’m educated, well-read and not xenophobic, but I voted leave because I wanted to upset the political apple cart and to express my frustration. The best and simplest explanation that I have heard for Brexit came from the comedic politics commentator Jonathan Pie on YouTube… Read more »

Butties
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Butties

“David Cameron should be held to account for driving the country over a cliff edge ”
What cliff edge would that be?

antidotesformodernlife
Reader

Putting the EU vote to a referendum, which he then encouraged to become a media circus full of misinformation. He didn’t put Brexit to a national vote for the good of the country, he did it to appease his backbenchers with no real thought that people would actually vote leave. Add to that TM triggering Article 50 before announcing a general election. We’ve had a a couple of prime ministers clearly unable to read the public mood. I voted leave but none of us know what the outcome of Breixt will be.

Butties
Reader
Butties

“None of us know what the outcome of Breixt (sic) will be” Well here are some known’s with commentary; UK will leave the EU in accordance with the decision of the UK voters. UK will repeal the 1972 Act ( see both Labour and Tory manifestos which combined garnered more tha 80% of the popular vote on June 8th) UK will transfer into law all EU laws and rules for the time being to ensure legal continuity. Our elected Parliament can revise/improve/reject these laws in future as we see fit. So, the UK will not be in the single market… Read more »

antidotesformodernlife
Reader

(sic) knowns.
Right, and everything always goes exactly according to plan does it? I voted Leave, not remain, but seeing as David Davis has fallen at the first hurdle I think all bets are off in terms of any of us knowing the path this will take.

Ross Hendry
Reader

Courage mon brave – if that’s an appropriate exhortation at this time!
Davis hasn’t fallen at the first hurdle, no matter what the ever-excited MSM reports. All is on course. It won’t be long before we regain both our sovereignty and our national self-esteem which were so carelessly thrown away in the 70s

antidotesformodernlife
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If we had a cross-party agreement on the talks, or they weren’t in the hands of this government I’d have more faith. It seems at this moment, for them, in the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king!

BigBG
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BigBG

I see Treason May has been getting all cuddly with Macron to discuss, inter alia, how they can neuter net neutrality to ‘disarm’ extremist terrorism. Not forming a government with the UDF, Red Hand Commandos, or the individual rights and eco-terrorists of the DUP would be a most effective remedy, IMO. Picturing the ‘happy couple’ in the grounds of the Elysee – it didn’t look like an imminent divorce to me! The back door is still open, Theresa… God, how I miss ‘Spitting Image.’ Brexit means Brexit? Let’s face it, Brexit means whatever you want it to mean, most especially… Read more »

antidotesformodernlife
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I agree with the restoration of Clause IV but we have gone so far down the route of globalisation that it would require real investigations and morals on the part of big business not only to instigate this at home, but also abroad, when big questions would need to be asked about the labour that provides our cheap goods. But, the General Election result was a resounding baby step in the right direction.

BigBG
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BigBG

I’m no disingenuous economist: but Greece is the financialisation model for Europe. From a working class POV, we’re metaphorically already there. According to the TUC, our wages are only just above that of a Greek workers. People are bridging the gap between poverty and a real living wage with cheap credit (or not so cheap credit; like Payday Loans.) If it wasn’t for the financial services – we’d have little or no economy at all. Rent is a bigger sector than Manufacturing. But the financial services rely on the FIRE economy – financialisation, insurance, real estate (to which we can… Read more »

antidotesformodernlife
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The personal debt bubble, I notice, has made the headlines today. It’s a ticking time bomb. All this while the Tories claim the economy has been growing. We need a second GE, bank regulation will never come under the Tories’ watch.

BigB
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BigB

Yep, it’s the fault of the deliberately impoverished, and the relatively impoverished (what used to be known as the Middle Class): that they will continue to live beyond their means. It’s really holding this country back! That’s the spin. Whilst there is some truth in that, the fact it is deliberately encouraged is never questioned. No consumers = no consumption = no (new) debt = systemic failure. When the bubbles burst (2000, 2008): simply re-inflate and carry on. The Neoliberal solution to enforced debt impoverishment is enforced debt impoverishment. I’m no expert, but everything I’ve read leads me to believe… Read more »

labrebisgalloise
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You’ve said what I think privately but rarely admit, even to myself. There won’t be money to compensate the capitalists and speculators and if you burst the bubble at the moment, what on earth is there worth saving, we can’t even build a motorcycle or bicycle, let alone a ship or train. The privateers will have to be told: “you treated our economy like a casino: sorry, buster, you gambled and lost, game over.” There will be a collapse in house prices and rents will tumble, just as they should. There will be a run on the pound and drastic… Read more »

rogerglewis
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jdseanjd
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Great article, thanks Dan Mallon.
Some great comments also.
The EU was set up by the CIA & MI6, post WWII, as a bulwark against Communism in the USSR, via the Marshall Plan.
This was always a Bankster plan.
The EU has evolved through many stages into what it was always intended to be: a stepping stone to a global govt, along with the UN.
Nigel Farage correctly identified the anti-democratic & anti nation-state nature of the insidious project in this hilarious 5 minute video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHvTq68_pg
Who are you Mr President? Nigel Farage asks Von Rompuy
John Doran.

jdseanjd
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jdseanjd
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Drat, foiled again.
Just put the Who are you? ref in youtube search box. This normally works.
JD.
PS: I cancelled my Paypal facility.

Arrby
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“…relatively small EU contributions of £8bn per annum; just 1.2% of public expenditure, which doesn’t account for the economic gains that membership affords…” Yes, and that only matters to bosses and politicians catering to them exclusively. Workers (and other individuals) are not economies. You know something’s not right when this defense of the vibrant economy is discussed at the same time as austerity is acknowledged. The economy’s great! For who though. Is it a minority who experience austerity? I’m not saying the author is making that argument. I’m just riffing off of his comments.

Dan Mallon
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Dan Mallon

Sorry Arrby, I can see how my phrasing may have resulted in my point being lost in translation. I was just trying to make the point that austerity can’t be blamed on contributions made to the EU, rather on Tory led policies. I by no means think the British economy is vibrant, it is very repressive and regressive. Much like the EU imposed austerity policies on other European nations. There are economic gains from EU membership no matter which way you cut it. But as you said, who are reaping those rewards is more important. The economic gains LARGELY come… Read more »

Arrby
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Acknowledged. Thanks.

michaelk
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michaelk

Something as mind-bogglingly complex as the UK’s role in the European Union, should never have been reduced to a simple-minded question like Brexit, in or out, because, in reality the UK isn’t going to be ‘in’ or ‘out’, what matters is the kind of relationship the UK is going to have with the rest of the European Union. How advantageous, or not, is that economic and political relationship going to be going forward? A vast and historic set of complex and contradictory questions about the future are close to being the very last thing suited to a referendum where so… Read more »

rogerglewis
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https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-beqPZ4i1uzA/WLA9Ff3ZG_I/AAAAAAAADMU/I5-CvA4mm9UEYKM4-sD-5OFqEDABARopACEw/s1600/EU%2BReferenda%2BEffective%2Bvote%2Band%2BTurnout.tiff
CLICK ON GRAPH TO ENLARGE:
The idea that some sort of super majority should apply to Brexit or other constitutional aspects of the European Union project is a bit silly I graphed all of the Voting percentages in all democratic votes in the Eu´s History.
If We want Democracy then One person one vote and Majorities it is.
An idea examined on these pages on the 11th of June.
https://off-guardian.org/2017/06/11/after-two-years-of-wrong-votes-the-media-take-aim-at-democracy/comment-page-1/#comment-70519

Dan Mallon
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Dan Mallon

Hi Michael, I agree the way the referendum was called and how it was framed by both sides was ridiculous. As usual the substantive issues were barely dealt with, while obfuscations and scapegoating ruled the day.
However it has provided stimulus for change and has opened up dialogues that I really don’t think would have been possible if things had of remained the way they were.

John
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John

I think there is one other crucial event that has to be taken into account. Western influence in the Middle East contributed indirectly to Brexit. Britain’s role in destabilising both Libya and Syria triggered situations of havoc, conflict and anarchy. This – in turn – led to massive movements of refugees fleeing conflict and persecution. The anarchy of Libya allowed massive numbers of refugees and pseudo-refugees to travel to Europe. Add to all this Merkel’s “Open Door to Europe” policy and Brits were appalled at the prospect of more migrants. Viewing large numbers of uncontrolled and largely unchecked migrants clearly… Read more »

Dan Mallon
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Dan Mallon

A Corbyn led Government would certainly attempt to change the UK’s foreign policy. I wonder how successful he would be, it would be a very interesting time in British politics!

Dan Mallon
Reader
Dan Mallon

Hi John, completely agree with you, the fallout of geo-political shenanigans was definitely a huge contributing factor. I intended on incorporating it into my piece, but very quickly realised it is an essay in itself. I really just wanted to focus on the underlying and fundamental motivating factor for the average voter in Britain. While it absolutely had an effect on the vote, it was also quite polarising and I don’t feel it was the defining force that brought the Brexit vote home; rather it was a surface level layer to the equation. I don’t mean for that to sound… Read more »

Frank
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Frank

What is often missed in discussions of the EU is the fact that it is not simply a neo-liberal economic configuration, but that it is also a geopolitical project. The EU is the flip side of NATO. There is no longer a European project, there is a North Atlantic project under US command. European foreign policy is controlled by the US through the NATO occupation of Europe. It wasn’t always thus; as late as 2003 both France and Germany opposed the Anglo-American war in Iraq. However, since that time, the Euro-Quisling/Petainist faction have gained control starting with Sarkozy in France… Read more »

Arrby
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That seems to be pretty much the case. It’s good that all those factors are looked at this way because it’s unrealistic to look at each in isolation, as though they don’t interact.

Seamus Padraig
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Seamus Padraig

Your point about the relationship between the EU and NATO is 100% correct, and it should be shouted from the mountaintops! The EU is just the political and financial arm of NATO. All of Europe, just like all of N. America (and increasingly all of the ‘Five Ayes’ too) is now under the control of the same big banks and oligarchs. The one doesn’t check the other; rather, they all collude together. But blaming E. Europe for all the Russophobia is a mistake on two counts: 1.) Not all of the E. European countries are, in fact, Russophobic. The Czech… Read more »

John
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John

Is this the same Paul Wolfowitz who stated to West Point graduates that a “Pearl Harbor moment” was needed prior to the 9/11 attacks?
It seems we are all still living with the insanity of these people, even now and today.

Seamus Padraig
Reader
Seamus Padraig

Not Wolfowitz directly, no. The infamous Pearl Harbor statement originally came from a white paper published by the neocon stink-tank PNAC, of which Wolfowitz was a member, called Rebuilding America’s Defenses. It his possible that he may have used the phrase at some point himself, though.

Dan Mallon
Reader
Dan Mallon

Wholly agree with you Frank! I resisted straying down the path of geo-politics in this piece because, as you said it is not often discussed and is not part of the mainstream dialogue.
Neo-Liberal economic policies and Neo-Conservative foreign policies are truly the vice grip of doom!

Butties
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Butties

Why do you think it is “not often discussed” Dan? In fact I have hardly come across ANY discussion on this issue in the MSM, where the whole issue seems to revolve around Money. I voted leave when it became apparent that the european elite decided that Europes border was Afganistan! Have you posted anywhere about the EU complicity in encircling Russia and siting weapons on their border?

Dan Mallon
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Dan Mallon

Butties my intention behind this essay was to highlight what I believe to have been the underlying, fundamental motivation for people voting for Brexit; that being economics. Not an appraisal of how the MSM framed the debate. Amongst that constituent there was naturally a whole raft of individual, personal reasons; much like your own vis-a-vis Europe’s borders. As for geo-politics, it is not often discussed; certainly not in any honest fashion by the MSM. It is also a deeply complex, conflicted and contradicted topic, that is generally out of grasp to the layman voter. Which is why I didn’t deal… Read more »

John
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John

You need to listen to people more. Rather like Trump in the US, in the UK there were parts of the country which had been left behind after not just a decline in traditional industries but an absolute elimination of jobs in coal, iron, and clay extraction, with steel production, manufacturing and shipbuilding all dwindling to the point of non-existence. Successive governments were perceived as having done nothing about the decline in traditional industrial areas. An example of this was the decline in the UK fishing industry, perceived as due to the Common Fisheries Policy. The referendum provided an opportunity… Read more »

Dan Mallon
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Dan Mallon

Was this directed at me?
If so I am wondering if you have read my piece or if you have listened to me.
It sounds like we are saying the same thing.

Carnyx
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Carnyx

The article misunderstands the situation in Scotland. Firstly the SNP got their second best result ever and won 60% of Scotland’s seats, Indyref 2 isn’t off the cards, instead it might become more pressing since the SNP can no longer sit back and wait, they might lose the pro-Indy majority in Holyrood, so if they are going to have one they’ll have to do it before the next Scottish election. Also the intent of having a second Indyref once the Brexit deal is known has already been passed in Holyrood. SNP support isn’t exactly the same as support for independence… Read more »

leruscino
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Hogwash ! BREXIT is really very simple as the trade deficit is €100bn per year so EU dies on its feet without UK buying their goods. Straight WTO rules with say an average duty of 4% windfalls €4bn per year to the UK. The rest is just bla bla while EU hides its blind panic at having lost one of it’s top 2 contributors ! Sadly expect to see more journalists try to carve out a living spinning over the corpse on about the death of the EU or UK? Conversely going back to the EEC saves the day. Victoria… Read more »

Seamus Padraig
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Seamus Padraig

Immigration is integral for any country to grow and prosper, as people with different skills and different cultural backgrounds provide new and innovative approaches to a whole host of social and economic situations.

If this is true, then how should we explain the European Renaissance, Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution? Were there massive waves of immigration into Europe before each of those “innovative” eras? How did Westerners ever manage to come up with new ideas before immigration?
Overall, this was a great article. I’m just offering up a minor cavil here.

Dan Mallon
Reader
Dan Mallon

Hi Seamus, good question. The renaissance is a good example of the benefits of immigration, as it only came about thanks to people – such as the Byzantine Greeks fleeing from the Ottoman Empire – who brought with them translated copies of the old classical Greek texts. These philosophical writing, by the likes of Aristotle, Plato et al. had been burnt in Europe during the Dark Ages, thankfully many of them had been translated into languages such as Arabic and were preserved far away from the Catholic Church. Immigration is integral, not massive waves of it. The massive waves we… Read more »

Jen
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Jen

Immigration of French Huguenots, other Protestants and Jewish people fleeing Catholic persecution elsewhere in Europe into Britain, the Netherlands and the Spanish Netherlands (later to become Belgium) during the 17th century brought textile-making skills and commercial knowledge and experience that laid the groundwork for the Industrial Revolution to occur early in those countries. The Industrial Revolution would arrive much later in the Catholic countries that those migrants fled. But the discussion does raise a good question about the nature of the massive e of immigration of refugees currently coming into Europe: when so many refugees appear to be men of… Read more »

Seamus Padraig
Reader
Seamus Padraig

There has already been fierce debate as to how and why Labour managed to make this record smashing turn around. Some people are convinced it can be boiled down to a Remainer revolt; while others point to May’s insipid campaign and lack of clarity. Clearly there is more than a grain of truth to be found in these positions; May really was awful and the remain vote had to find a home somewhere: however these are not what lit the fire in the Momentum train. I agree. Now let me see if I can come up with a better explanation… Read more »

Dan Mallon
Reader
Dan Mallon

Would Owen Smith or Angela Eagle have brought those voters back into the fold? Would they have fired up the youth to come out in historic numbers?

Seamus Padraig
Reader
Seamus Padraig

Definitely not!

rogerglewis
Reader

An Excellent Analysis for a very Big Subject. Neo-Liberalism and its rejection is I think at the heart of it though. Neo Liberalism is Polarising . “Neoliberal democracy. Instead of citizens, it produces consumers. Instead of communities, it produces shopping malls. The net result is an atomized society of disengaged individuals who feel demoralized and socially powerless. In sum, neoliberalism is the immediate and foremost enemy of genuine participatory democracy, not just in the United States but across the planet, and will be for the foreseeable future.” ― Noam Chomsky “This is the permanent tension that lies at the heart… Read more »

Dan Mallon
Reader
Dan Mallon

Thanks for the detailed comment Roger! Will definitely dig into some of those links you included. 🙂

rogerglewis
Reader

By the way, I got my Parmenides and Heraclitus’s arse about face in the comment. It’s a David Graeber Idea from back in 2005 in the Commoner when he was analysing John Kerry Losing to Bush the Second.

rogerglewis
Reader

Thank You, Dan, I am very bad at concision and often people find it a little off-putting, so it’s nice to know that others share similar tastes to my own. I think the Article is excellent and opened up the Many-Sidedness to this question.

rtj1211
Reader
rtj1211

This ridiculously flawed analysis refuses to cost immigration when noone leaves. Costs: social housing for immigrant plus family (often large) – rent, utilities plus capital building programmes to increase housing stock due to population increase; NHS costs for children(vaccinations etc) and pregnant wives (ante-natal, birth and post natal); Schooling costs, including infrastructure uprades to expand school sizes; Upgrades to transport infrastructure due to population increases; Translation services, where needed plus language lesson provision; Cost of keeping Uk citizen unemployed by hiring foreigner. Let us say they earn £30,000 a year, so they pay at most £8000 a year in all… Read more »

Ross Hendry
Reader

There has indeed been a steady stream of diagnoses and theories as to why the referendum result fell the way it did. But for what purpose? No one can ever say what the reasons, or even the main reasons, were , it’s all idle speculation. The important thing was the result, Trying forlornly to enunciate the reasons for it is only of interest to those who hope to rig a “soft exit” from the EU that will pretend to address those totally imaginary reasons. May needs to stick to her “Bexit means Brexit” mantra, but her actions – and David… Read more »

labrebisgalloise
Reader

This is a great piece Kit. I supported Brexit precisely because I thought it would lead us roughly where we are now, a place Mao-Tse-Tung might have felt quite at home with. The referendum result was a sure fire path to getting the elephant out of the room (UKIP) and opening up opportunities for Labour and, despite what trendy liberals like to think, was more a victory for basic class consciousness than crude racism and xenophobia. What I didn’t predict on the one side was that May would prevail over Boris (and then end up being even more feeble) and,… Read more »

labrebisgalloise
Reader

…apologies, Dan Mallon, I didn’t see your name at first.

bill40
Reader

A couple of points if I may, I think you overplay Corbyns undoubtably good performance and the reason for the Brexit vote a lot simpler than it’s made out. People are simply voting for change whenever they can that’s why Brexit and that’s why Corbyn.
I put some thoughts together on this if I may be given a blatant plug. https://bill40.wordpress.com/2017/06/11/brexit-current-direction-omnishambles