Tagg’s Brexit Rant — 2016-06-24

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Depressing news, but not surprising because so few people on the remain side addressed the real problem.

EU economic policies seem to be largely under the thumb of big private corporations. In Europe, as in the UK, ‘freedom of enterprise’ and the holy ‘free market’ trump (verb) all other freedoms and rights (like the right to work for a fair wage). But the alternative, now becoming reality, is even worse — much worse.

Our own Trumps (second-rate toffs and bullies like Johnson, Gove and Farage) can gloat because they will now be big ducks on the tiny, financially challenged backwater our nation has become due to the disappearance in recent decades of jobs, mainly in manufacturing, caused by the holy freedom of enterprise and its apparently god-given right to outsource production to countries where workers have yet to secure acceptable conditions of pay and employment.

It's worrying that the most enthusiastic European reactions to the UK referendum results have come from the far right —from Lepen (Front National in France), Salvini (Lega Nord in Italy), Wilders (Vrijheidspartij in the Netherlands) etc. Like Johnson, Gove and Farage, these radical right-wingers aren't about to commit genocide but they have, like Hitler and unlike well-behaved socialists, registered and exploited the dissatisfaction, alienation and understandable grievances of those whose jobs, security and sense of dignity have been taken from them. Of course, instead of pointing to the root cause of dissatisfaction —unbridled market forces and those practising the religion of greed and profit— they've scapegoated immigrants who contribute so much more to national economies in the EU and UK than they take out. That mendacious view of cause and effect is iniquitous: instead of fighting the forces repressing us from above, we're bamboozled into thinking that we have to fight not those above us but those on either side of us, especially if they talk or look different to us. It's a destructively diversionary tactic that can never solve the problem. Instead it can morph into the poison of ethnic cleansing.

Oxford, Cambridge, Central London and similar areas voted to remain in Europe but people living in traditionally industrial areas here in the North of England, as well as in the Midlands and South Wales, voted to leave. They didn't do that because they're fascist. No, it's because most representatives of centre and left-wing politics in the UK failed to address the real issue —fighting finance capitalism and putting control of our resources into our hands or into those of our democratically elected representatives.

The best thing those of us inhabiting this global backwater (the UK) can do now is to fight against the hitherto unchallenged power of contemporary capitalism for a just society that provides for the needs of all the nation's people. The best thing the EU can do is to learn from the results of this referendum, to oppose the TTIP, and to ensure that European citizens can live a decent life without fear of unemployment and poverty. If the real enemies are identified and confronted, there will be no need for diversionary tactics or ethnic hatred: the EU can instead survive and flourish.

Meanwhile, I'm considering moving to Scotland and voting for Scotland to secede from the UK. If I live long enough, I look forward to being once again a citizen in an independent nation inside the EU. I just hope that the EU has enough sense to put its house in order for the popular majority of our shared continent before that time.

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I want to include a couple of sentences from a WhatsApp my daughter sent me earlier today.
NB 75% of those under 25 voted to stay in the EU.

“...The younger generation has lost the opportunity to live and work in 27 other countries. We will never know the full extent of the lost opportunities, friendships, marriages and experiences we will be denied. Freedom of movement was taken away by our parents, uncles and grandparents in a parting blow to a generation that was already drowning in the debts of our predecessors.”

“When [in this post-factual ‘democracy’] the facts met the myths they were as useless as bullets bouncing off the bodies of alliens in an HG Wells novel”... “Can anyone tell me the last time a prevailing culture of anti-intellectualism has led to anything other than bigotry?”

....plus some insightful comments from Jody Berland

“... It's important not to respond by scapegoating the ‘leave’ people as though they are all racist morons. Unfortunately these themes are very familiar to us in North America, especially as we watch the American election unfold. People are angry and alienated and ripe for scapegoating immigrants, especially now when so many people are so involuntarily mobile.”

“Part of the problem is that the same corporations who are depriving people of their life expectations are also the corporations who own the media reporting on these political events. American mainstream media are riddled with lies, distortion,and blackouts of the facts when they contradict their aims. I am a relatively sophisticated person who has been around longer than I care to think, but I have never seen anything like it. We need to be very outspoken about this. I have loved seeing and hearing the musicians and actors who got involved with politics and are roaming the country (and social media) making speeches for Bernie Sanders. They face a tough challenge in terms of their visibility and legibility, and they need everyone's help reaching the millions of people sitting in front of the shamelessly dishonest spectacle of mainstream news. It's later than we think.”

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