As I write this some interesting events are occurring in the wake of the ‘Brexit’ referendum. Labour shadow cabinet members are striving to oust the leader, Corbyn, on the strange grounds that he didn’t back their (losing) position enthusiastically enough, but rather seems to have more in common with the people who voted the other way. Yes: the best thing these people can think of at a time of national crisis is to pick up the telephone and plot against their leader. Not that they have any kind of plan. They don’t: they’ve no plan. At a time when we need a united progressive party, ready to defend the rights and conditions of working people, their response is to organise a coup against the leader of their party. The clowns.
The Tories, too, are in some confusion: having created the current mess, the leaders of the ‘out’ campaign flail around, with no clear idea of what to do next. Some of them have already begun to row back on their rather central promises about migration being stopped and money conjured up for the NHS after the UK stops handing over money to Brussels. Astonishingly, it appears that neither the Tory Remain nor the Leave camp have any plan for what happens post Brexit. How can such people be taken seriously? Clowns indeed, as I described them in an earlier post. Oh, and the Liberal Democrats are promising to keep us in the EU, by ignoring the referendum. That last point may seem relatively unimportant in the light of the foregoing. I mean, how many of them are there in the House of Commons? 6 ? something like that? Still, their position prompts a few thoughts as it looks symptomatic of a wider failure on the part of our elites to connect with anything real that is happening.
The EU is not a context free problem, to put it mildly. The Lib Dems, just like the Tories and the right of the Labour Party, signed up to the same policies and the same outlook that helped cause this crisis. It’s a crisis that has many names, of which ‘austerity ‘ is just one. This country’s political elite, of which they are a part, has been effectively telling large swathes of the population that they don’t matter – and for all the warm words, the Lib Dem leadership have been fully signed up to the policies that have made that clear to the north and the midlands. They’ve been doing it for decades: they are part of the same political class as Blair, Cameron and the rest. Now it’s coming back to bite them in the arse. So to support them in ignoring the referendum and trying to reset everything to before the 23rd June, even if you are a very convinced ‘remainer’ is to choose to ignore why we got into all this. It’s an utterly opportunistic move. It’s also laughably arrogant.
They’ve no alternative to offer: they are still utterly committed to the economic model that supported Osborne. Currently they are able to claim they aren’t responsible. But they are: remember Danny Alexander? Tuition fees? PR might have been nice for them, and good for the country too, but you don’t fix this via fiddling with AV or whatever. You have to oppose elite interests, oppose inequality, oppose neoliberalism. The Lib Dems have never done that, nor will they. Their part in that dereliction of duty is a real part of the reason why we got into a situation in which over half of the voters in the referendum stuck two fingers up to the Westminster career politicians. And the Blairites currently trying to remove Jeremy Corbyn are right up to their necks in it too.
It is the sinister clowns themselves who are responsible, but who are incapable of acting responsibly. There’s been an abdication of responsibility for the national interest, the Common Good and least of all the interests of working class people in this country. Further back, the coalition, the Tories plus the Lib Dems, prepared the ground. Even further back, it is New Labour, the remnants of which are currently trying to stop any real change by unseating Jeremy Corbyn. They are all Thatcher’s children. They are part of the problem, not the solution.