Friday 24 June 2016

Brexit: Shocking but not surprising

I was always fairly certain that the result of the EU referendum would be Leave, but I argued the case that such a result would be incredibly dangerous because it would give the green light to the fanatically right-wing fringe of the Tory party to set about reconstructing the UK economy, legal system, trade relations and constitution in accordance with their socially and economically ruinous hard-right ideology (the one that's done so much damage already since 1979).

Tories from both factions have already sworn that Brexit would give them the excuse they wanted to impose even more savage and destructive ideological austerity. Iain Duncan Smith even said that more austerity would be "a price worth paying" for Brexit. Of course now that the time to pay that cost has arrived, Iain Duncan Smith won't be the one to pay it. People who live in plush country estates gifted to them by their in-laws don't pay the price of austerity, the price of that Tory ideological madness is always paid by people like the sick and disabled, children, people who live in predominantly working class Labour voting local authorities and the working poor.

Even though the Vote Leave campaign was built on the foundation of the outright lie that EU membership costs "£350 million a week", it was always going to have a great deal of appeal because the hard-right Vote Leave snake oil merchants came up with the strategy of defining a highly complex situation into a "simple problem - simple solution" argument. Thus they dressed up pretty much all of the appalling consequences of their own toxic right-wing ideology as failings of the EU, then presented quitting the EU as the obvious solution.

It was always going to be a difficult task to try to counter this "simple problem - simple solution" propaganda with stuff like facts and evidence, because unlike simplistic hard right propaganda, the actual facts are rarely unequivocal. Anyone who tried to claim that the EU is perfect is a demonstrable liar, but anyone who tried to present post-Brexit Britain as a land of milk and honey where the Tories suddenly begin caring about the NHS could, like Chris Grayling, wriggle out of it by claiming that their Utopian and uncosted spending pledges weren't actual policies, but just "options".

The problem presenting facts and evidence to oppose this "simple problem -simple solution" argument and the fantastically unrealistic promises options of the Brexit camp was exacerbated by a worrying anti-intellectual backlash against expert opinion exemplified by Brexiter Michael Gove's assertion that "people in this country have had enough of experts".

So millions of people bought the hard-right Tory snake oil and the green light has now been given for a Tory ideological rampage to deliver even more of the stuff that they just blamed the EU for in order to get their own way.

Many of the people celebrating today will be the victims of this forthcoming Tory rampage, while many of those holding their heads and asking "how?" will be insulated from the worst of it by virtue of being well-to-do.

That's just the nature of things in Tory Britain. The poor and the vulnerable bear the brunt of it, the well-to-do get by just well enough to make them sceptical about rocking the boat, and the super-rich minority get filthy rich. If we had voted Remain, this Tory upwards redistribution of wealth would doubtlessly have continued as it had for the last six years, but voting Leave has given the fanatical hard-right of the Tory party so much more power to write their appalling wealth transfer objectives into the UK legal system and constitution.

Those staggeringly over-optimistic Left Leave people who enabled this inevitable hard-right Tory rampage by voting Leave will be completely powerless to stop it, because even though the Tory party will be temporarily leaderless, they certainly won't be meekly giving up their political power at such an uniquely opportune moment.

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