The Brexit Delusion

Brexiteers say about the consequences of Brexit, “I don’t care, we voted for out and that’s what should happen”. I detect also that they know it’s the best way to annoy the establishment and all those politicians who have “messed up their lives”.

It started with picking on foreigners for taking our jobs and destroying our culture but morphed into finding a scapegoat for all our troubles. UKIP has piled up all their pet hates onto one handcart and labelled it Europe. The EU is not a perfect soul mate (it has its demons) but in the current world it’s far superior as a partner to all the rest. Our politicians should be telling us so.

Yet somehow, Vote Leave has succeeded in setting our people against each other in an unnecessary civil war. They have pulled off a mischievous stunt that has churned up anger and resentment against the EU. We are all victims now. Only our sense of good play will get us out of it.

The real culprit is a seismic shift in the world manufacturing power and our government’s inadequate solutions and poor decision making for dealing with it. Europe is in the same turmoil as the UK for the same reasons. It would be an intelligent move to work together and not fight each other. After Brexit many firms will shrink their business and return to Europe. Brexiteers will say “Good Riddance”. That is a mark of frustration, not logic. Vote Leave has exploited this frustration and pinned it on Europe.

So, my point is be careful what you wish for. The real battle is for fairness between the haves and have nots. Between London and the Regions. The real battle is with multinationals refusal to pay proportional taxes and the government’s feeble fight back. The failure to tackle housing, welfare, zero hour contracts, rogue entrepreneurs stealing company wealth and employees’ pension pots, then making them redundant. Add in the RBS banking scandal, the foolish decision on the bedroom tax, penny-pinching ruining the introduction of Universal Credit scheme, the irresponsible decision to pay rent directly to tenants rather than landlords and councils, and what you have is a rich seam of discontent ready for Vote Leave to exploit. Everyone is aware that the very rich are getting richer and everyone else poorer. So Vote Leave and Cambridge Analytica team up under the anarchic vision of Dominique Cummings to hunt down all the victims of all this mis-management and alley their grievances to their cause.

Our politicians are fighting to ameliorate a bad situation in the face of public anger on all sides. In my opinion, they should be trying to secure a holding position for the nation to re-establish its sanity. A move to stay in the customs union, eradicate the pain of the backstop and re-establish our industrial stability is the first goal. The conservative government has to finally bite the bullet and test the resolve of the ERG extreme nationalists holding it to ransom. It’s the demise of the ERG, the government or the country. Which one is for the trash can? If all goes horribly wrong it will be The People’s Vote that will be the decider. It will be successful if the campaign has a Strategy. I ask the question: what is it?

* Ken Griffin is a retired school-teacher, lecturer, factory manager and postman. He lives in North Lincolnshire and is a member of the Gainsborough local party.

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  • >After Brexit many firms will shrink their business and return to Europe.

    EY (formerly Ernst & Young) historically Anglo-American company, are relocating their HQ to Brussels.
    Dyson, a UK HQ’d company are relocating their corporate HQ to Singapore.
    Nissan and Honda no longer have need for UK/EU based operations with the signing of the new EU-Japan treaty…

    I remember reading recently (but am unable to relocate the source) that circa 700 companies were in the process of moving EU27 serving parts of their business to EU27 locations run by EU27 nationals, which ultimately means a loss of tax revenues (PAYE, NI & Corporate).

    So yes companies are shrinking their UK businesses, but aren’t necessarily returning to Europe, they are minimising the influence Westminster has over their future and access to key markets. Brexit or no Brexit, the UK economy is shrinking… Mogg is probably right, it is going to take circa 50 years before businesses trust Westminster again…

  • “UKIP has piled up all their pet hates onto one handcart and labelled it Europe.”

    Exactly! It is, of course, utter nonsense but that is the power of narrative which Lib Dems would do well to learn.

    Countering it requires a different, better narrative; better in that it is based on observable reality rather than the world of fantastical demons conjured up by UKIP.

    The BIG problem, I submit, is Westminster and not the EU. For four decades, political thought has been dominated by ‘neoliberalism’ – basically the self-serving values, fake economics and policies of the Tory right. Even when Labour was in power or the Lib Dems in Coalition, their aspiration was to join the establishment, never to really challenge its essentials, and that is a big reason they have so little credibility now (and, in the case of the Lib Dems, so few MPs).

    The result has been to suck money and power and opportunity out of rest of the country leaving central London as an oasis of ease and plenty in the desert beyond. Something had to break and now it has.

    But perhaps forgotten in all the noise, is the fact that the neoliberals’ perennial asset-stripping has bankrupted the country which we see as growing poverty, insecurity and so on. Perhaps that explains why they, the chief beneficiaries of the last 40 years, are so desperate to distract us by saying, “look over there, the EU monster”. Or it may be that to get to neoliberal nirvana – the privatisation of the NHS – they know they must ditch the EU’s somewhat muddled but still broadly liberal democratic approach leaving us with no alternative but to sign up for (via a ‘free trade’ deal the terms of which the US will dictate) for the US’s red meat neoliberalism with rich plunder to be made from health, dodgy food standards, more cuts to welfare and the rest.

    For that is what Brexit is really about. Do we want a polity that is designed and run to benefit the people as a whole, or one intended to enrich a sociopathic few?

  • Denis Mollison 14th Mar '19 - 11:35pm

    Good article and good comments, thanks.

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