Letter from Britain—Lost in a Brexit Maze: a Baffled Political Class Dreads the Prospect of Jeremy Corbyn

The British Establishment wants to protect the expanded privileges it inherited from Margaret Thatcher’s neoliberal legacy but appears clueless about how to deal with an increasingly rebellious British public, as Alexander Mercouris explains.

By Alexander Mercouris
in London
Special to Consortium News

Donald Trump’s recent trip to Britain – happening against the backdrop of the sweltering heat of an unusually protracted summer heatwave – took place at a time when Britain’s political system is closer to breakdown than at any time in my memory.

The immediate crisis centres on a Brexit plan which British Prime Minister Theresa May unveiled to her top ministers at a closed meeting at Chequers (the British Prime Minister’s official country residence) earlier this month.

It is fair to say this plan ( two years in the making and details still to be worked out), which proposes a relationship between Britain and the EU similar to those agreed by Ukraine and Moldova, satisfies no-one.

The hardline Brexiteers, who account for a significant minority of the elected members of Parliament (MPs) of May’s Conservative Party and an overwhelming majority of the Conservative Party’s membership and supporters in the country, are unhappy because they are not getting the clear break from the EU which they expected and which they believed they had been promised after Leave won the 2016 referendum.

Opponents of Brexit, made up of the overwhelming majority of opposition Labour Party MPs and its membership, as well as a small number of Conservative MPs, the bulk of the civil service, the business community and the labour unions basically don’t want Brexit to happen and want Britain to remain in the EU. They are unhappy because despite the continued connection to the EU Britain would still be leaving the EU.

As for the EU itself, it has remained uncharacteristically quiet since the plan was published, but its senior officials have made clear they will probably reject it because it crosses too many of its red lines.

How did Britain – two years after the question of Britain’s exit from the EU appeared to have been answered in the June 2016 referendum – end up with such a plan, and how does that connect to the broader political crisis which is underway in Britain today?

How It Came to Pass

In order to answer that question a good place to start is to look at the Brexit referendum itself, and how it came to pass, and how contrary to all expectations May became British Prime Minister immediately following it.

The key point to make about the Brexit referendum is that it would never have been called if there had been any genuine belief (or fear) within Britain’s political class that it would result in a vote for Britain to leave the EU.

David Cameron – the British Conservative Prime Minister who called the referendum – did so not to settle what he believed as a burning debate in Britain, but in order to outflank his critics within the Conservative Party and in the country, who were using his supposed loyalty to the EU as a political stick to beat him with.

Cameron himself – along with the rest of the British establishment – assumed however that the greater part of the British public was bored and indifferent to the question of Britain’s EU membership (Cameron once spoke of the need for the Conservative Party “to stop banging on about Europe”). Accordingly he assumed that once the referendum was called his critics would be quickly exposed as obsessive and marginal figures, out of touch with public opinion.

However, Boris Johnson, a former mayor of London had emerged as an important rival to Cameron for the leadership of the Conservative Party, and who after much agonising joined the Leave Europe campaign because he thought that doing so would position him better for a future leadership bid.

These essentially frivolous reasons for Cameron’s and Johnson’s actions before and during the referendum illustrate the chronic amateurism of much of Britain’s political class, especially that part of it which is associated with the Conservative Party—where high political office more often than not depends on wealth and social status than on experience or ability.

Both Cameron and Johnson are in fact typical members of Britain’s political and social elite. Both were born to wealth, and both of them were educated at Eton College and Oxford University, where as it happens both men belonged to the same social club, albeit at different times.

Eton College and Oxford University happen to be the two most famous educational institutions within the inordinately expensive and socially exclusive private educational system which trains Britain’s establishment. Access to both is effectively barred for cost reasons to the overwhelming majority of Britain’s population. However admission to them – especially to Eton College – acts as a passport to high office for those members of the elite who want it.

Complete Misjudgment

In the event, and not for the last time, the referendum result showed that Cameron, Johnson and the rest of the British establishment had completely misjudged the views and attitudes of the British population.

Instead of being bored and indifferent to the subject of Europe, British voters turned out to vote in what are by today’s standards high numbers (turnout was 72.2%, significantly higher than in recent general elections). More to the point, instead of (as expected) voting to stay in the EU they voted – albeit by a small margin of 52-48% – to leave.

Johnson: Unprepared for Brexit victory. (Getty)

The immediate result was the political establishment went through the political equivalent of a nervous breakdown. Cameron – overwhelmed by forces he had unleashed but barely understood, and not knowing what to do next – broke a promise he had given previously to stay irrespective of the referendum and resigned immediately. Johnson, equally unsure what to do in a situation he had never anticipated or prepared for, in turn bungled his own leadership bid, and failed to replace Cameron.

The result was that the post of British Prime Minister passed by default to May, a colourless and unimaginative administrator, whose lack of even the most basic political skills became cruelly exposed during the general election she called completely unnecessarily last year, which she nearly lost.

Since becoming Prime Minister, May – as might be expected of such a person – has approached the question of Brexit as an essentially technical question, to be ironed out in negotiations, with the overarching objective being to cause as little disruption to the British economy as possible so that things can continue to go on as before.

Inevitably that is an approach which favours keeping as much of the status quo as possible, with May looking to achieve a Brexit which retains Britain’s economic and trading links with the EU essentially unaffected.

Rejection of an Intolerable Status Quo

The result is a 98-page proposal for an association agreement between Britain and the EU, directly copied from those agreed with the EU by Moldova and Ukraine, whereby Britain would remain in fact, though not in name, a member of the European Single Market. Its economy would observe the EU’s regulatory structure as administered by the European Court of Justice, whose decisions on regulatory questions would continue to be binding on British companies.

Unsurprisingly this ‘solution’, which would leave Britain indefinitely subject to EU-made laws, in the making of which it would no longer have any say, satisfies nobody, and is being criticised by all sides.

The latest opinion poll shows that only 25% of Britons now think May is managing the negotiations with the EU successfully.

It would be a fundamental error however to see May as the cause of what practically everyone in Britain now agrees is a debacle. If May were the only problem, there would be no problem getting rid of her and replacing her with someone else. The fact that May is still there despite her all too obvious flaws and failures illustrates the underlying point: the problem is not May; it is Britain’s entire political class.

A proper response to the Brexit vote would have recognised that whatever it was, it was a rejection of the status quo, which has obviously become intolerable to much of the British public. Any response to the Brexit vote, which – like May’s plan – seeks to preserve the status quo, is therefore by definition flawed.

May: Out of her depth.

The British political class, once renowned for its sure-footedness and flexibility, would once have had no difficulty recognising this fact, unwelcome though it was. It would accordingly have focused its energy on responding to the Brexit vote in the way desired by the majority of British voters, by considering what part of the status quo has become objectionable and how it can be changed.

The focus would not have been on the negotiations, which by definition can only be a means to an end, but on formulating a plan to take Britain forward once it was outside the EU whilst responding to the concerns of the British public..

That would have required a thorough study of the state of Britain’s society and economy, leading to what might have been a heated but real debate about what was needed to be changed. Eventually, after a period of acrimony and argument, a programme to prepare Britain for life outside the EU would have emerged and a negotiating position could have been formed around it, which could have been presented to the EU in the negotiations.

There is no of course guarantee the EU would have agreed to whatever the British proposed, but at least a proper discussion would have happened followed by a real negotiation between two equal partners, with the British knowing their own minds and having a set of clear goals which they would have been working towards. If the negotiations were unsuccessful the British would then have been free to put their plans into effect by themselves, with steps taken in advance to prepare for that contingency.

No Debate

In the event nothing like that has happened. There has been no debate within the British establishment either about the state of Britain or about what needs to be done to change it. Nor have any serious steps been taken to prepare for the possibility that the negotiations with the EU might be unsuccessful.

The reason for that is that taking a close, hard look at the state of Britain’s society and economy and working out a programme of reform to adjust them to the world after Brexit is something that Britain’s establishment is today both unable and unwilling to do. As beneficiaries of the 1980s Thatcherite settlement they want things to remain as they are, and have no wish or idea of how to change them. Besides, it is doubtful whether they any longer have either the technical skill or the experience, or even the self-confidence to meet such a challenge.

The result is that instead of the genuine debate that needs to happen about what sort of country Britain needs to be, there has been a sterile debate between supporters of ‘soft Brexit’, which it is now clear boils down to May’s proposed association agreement with the EU, and ‘hard Brexit’, with advocates of the latter talking grandly about a clean break with the EU and about trading with the EU on World Trade Organisation terms, but without having much idea of what that means in practice.

In such a situation it becomes easier to understand why despite her failures, May remains Prime Minister. In a vacuum of ideas a Prime Minister without ideas appears to suit the situation.

In reality, outside the establishment, there is no shortage in Britain today of ideas about how to take the country forward.

The individual who has come to crystallise for many people the challenge to the status quo is Jeremy Corbyn, the veteran left wing politician who leads the Labour Party. He not only very visibly bested May in last year’s general election, but most certainly does have a set of ideas for taking Britain forward.

Corbyn is one of the most misrepresented figures in British politics. By the standards of earlier Labour politicians he is by no means radical. His desire for a mixed economy, with significant sections brought back into public ownership and certain elements of planning reintroduced, and his support for strong social services and for high investment in state funded education and health care are all to be paid for through progressive taxation. His longstanding opposition to military adventures overseas, as well, all fall squarely within what was once the British Labour Party’s social democratic mainstream.

At any time up to the 1980s Corbyn’s current policy positions (as opposed to some of the positions he once held in his youth) would not have been considered controversial in Labour terms. On the contrary they represent a return to the policies followed in Britain’s social democratic heyday by the previous Labour governments of Clement Attlee and Harold Wilson.

Even Corbyn’s well known support for extra Parliamentary political activity, which many of his critics profess to see as somehow dangerous and ‘extreme’, is actually in Labour Party terms completely traditional. The Labour Party after all is itself the product of extra Parliamentary political activity, having been formed at the start of the twentieth century by Britain’s labour unions and by various voluntary societies operating outside Parliament. Indeed for most of its history the Labour Party spoke of itself as the “political wing” of a “Labour movement” whose “industrial wing” was the labour unions.

Clinging to Class Interests

The difficulty is that though Corbyn’s social democratic programme does indeed offer an alternative to the Thatcherite settlement, which in Britain represents the status quo, and is a conceivable programme around which to prepare Britain for life outside the EU, it is also one which is completely unacceptable to Britain’s establishment.

Ever since the 1990s the establishment has not only accepted the 1980s Thatcher neoliberal settlement, but has massively benefitted from it to the point where in the public mind it is increasingly associated with it. The idea that it could be successfully challenged was until recently, for the establishment, literally unthinkable since that would have meant acknowledging that the status and power of the establishment itself could be challenged.

That is why until the 2017 election the establishment – which to be clear includes the entire parliamentary faction of the Labour Party and the media – found it impossible to take Corbyn seriously. It is also why Corbyn is the target of such extreme establishment hostility, including from within his own party.

As a result of the outcome of the 2017 election, which showed that Corbyn’s programme is actually popular – especially amongst Britons of working age and younger– came as a shock. It was for the establishment at least as great a shock as that of the Brexit referendum of the year before.

Not only was the election outcome horrifying to them in itself, but it also – like the result of the Brexit referendum – further underscored the extent to which the establishment has lost ground with the public.

It is that sense of disconnection which gives the political crisis in Britain its peculiar character. An establishment which senses itself challenged and which is no longer sure of its support in the country is afraid to risk the traditional method in Britain of resolving a political crisis, which is another general election. Indeed it is now so insecure about its position that it is nervous of taking any step at all, such as replacing a Prime Minister who is discredited and unpopular.

Different Than the Nineties

Corbyn: Traditional Labour programme.

The situation differs fundamentally from the one in the early 1990s, when another Conservative government had become unpopular. Though the Conservatives at that time were divided and unpopular, the part of the British establishment associated with the Labour Party was brimming with self-confidence, and was both eager and able to take charge. Since it too was fully committed to preserving the 1980s Thatcher settlement, an election did not threaten fundamental change or challenge the position of the establishment in the way that an election might do now.

The result is an impasse, with the establishment – including sections of the Labour Party – desperate at almost any cost to avoid an election and the attendant risk of a Corbyn government, but incapable of formulating an alternative path forward.

The nature of the crisis is elegantly summed up in the following words of an article in The Guardian, quoting the comments of a senior Conservative MP.

A senior Tory backbencher on the 1922 committee executive said on Thursday that May had the “best chief whip ever” and that he would still save her. “He is called Jeremy Corbyn. Just mention the threat of a Corbyn government and our people come into line.”

The reality is that political logic clearly points to the need for a Corbyn government. Given that Corbyn is the only leader who is offering a way forward, a government led by him is the only way to restore a sense of direction and coherence. Resisting that logic is simply deepening the crisis and creating more drift. One senses that government has all but broken down, with only administrative tasks still being performed, as senior ministers plot and war against each other, without however having any overarching idea of what they want to do.

Whether a Corbyn government, if it were elected, would be able to implement its programme in the face of the immense opposition it would face is another matter. Corbyn has so far repeatedly defied predictions by overcoming every obstacle in his path. Whether as Prime Minister he would be able to go on doing so is a question only the future can tell.

What is beyond doubt however is that a Corbyn government must be tried. The alternative is that the crisis becomes entrenched and deepens, in which case other, altogether more alarming forces might start to emerge. Already what looks like the early signs of this are there.

Gramsci put it best: The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.”

In Britain – as any reader of British newspapers knows – the “morbid symptoms” are currently there in abundance.

Alexander Mercouris is a political commentator and editor of The Duran.

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59 comments for “Letter from Britain—Lost in a Brexit Maze: a Baffled Political Class Dreads the Prospect of Jeremy Corbyn

  1. David G
    August 6, 2018 at 6:17 pm

    I didn’t respond to this excellent article when I first read it, but it’s been springing to mind ever since.

    So as long as comments are still open: Thanks to Alexander Mercouris and CN!

  2. August 3, 2018 at 11:57 pm

    So good. Had to send some money your way. Thank you!

  3. Back to Earth
    August 3, 2018 at 10:52 am

    Neoliberalism must end! It’s a complete economic fabrication absent of anything based in reality! This is madness that it go on for another day! And it certainly shouldn’t be taught in mainstream university classrooms! Too many understand the true operational reality of how the economy works. It’s time to stop acting like children about something so important.

    “The economy—that is to say, the creation and spending of dollars to undertake and accomplish humanly defined goals—is composed of not one, but two, money-creation processes. The first (and most commonly understood) process is the U.S. banking system: Banks “create” new dollars when they issue loans. This is the engine of American capitalism, and the new dollars sent into circulation by the banking system are specifically (and exclusively) targeted to accomplish goals associated with the generating of personal or corporate financial profits in the market economy.

    The second money-creation process, as our explanation above has made clear, is the process we have been habitually calling “government borrowing.” The issuing and auctioning of U.S. treasury bonds, as we’ve just discovered, is not “borrowing” money at all, but creating it. Most important, the dollars generated by this process, which are then spent by the U.S. government, are not spent in the pursuit of personal or corporate financial profits. They are spent to pursue the collective goals—and address the collective needs—of society at large.

    The problem we are struggling with today is that while we continue to encourage the first money-creating process—the banking system—to “create” as many dollars as American enterprise and consumers can profitably spend, we have habitually constrained the second money-creating process by labeling it our “national debt” and falsely believing it is encumbering us. In doing so, we severely—and unnecessarily—limit and constrain what we undertake to accomplish for the benefit of what could be called our collective “social economy.” This is a mistake we must now stop making.”

    http://neweconomicperspectives.org/2018/08/the-explicable-mystery-of-the-national-debt.html

  4. August 3, 2018 at 6:52 am

    Power should be distributed to everybody. It should be decentralized; there is not need for power to be centralized.

    Centralized, power is bound to corrupt.

    With power decentralized, everybody is powerful in his own way.

    So what is the need of having politicians?

    Their lust for power has come to the climax.

    They are absolutely prepared to destroy each other, to destroy all and everything.

    They are the real criminals…

    https://whenwardisappears.wordpress.com/

  5. Rael Nidess, M.D.
    August 1, 2018 at 8:17 pm

    What an amazingly understandable and concise description of a complex issue!! So much appreciated Alexander… looking forward to much more of your work on this site.

    • August 3, 2018 at 11:54 pm

      Well said!

  6. Wally
    July 31, 2018 at 8:23 am

    “Both were born to wealth, and both of them were educated at Eton College and Oxford University, where as it happens both men belonged to the same social club, albeit at different times.”

    They were in the Bullingdob Club at the same time, as the famous and disappeared photo in their club outfits clearly showed – along with Osborne and a bunch of other self entitleds who obviously crave anonimity as they pull strings from the shadows.

    In my opinion the whole brexit referendum and covert campaign (CA et al) and result was exactly what Cameron and co and their main sponsors wanted.

    They had no choice once the EU got past the UK veto and vested banking interests desire to remain un-registered, off-shore, de-regulated, tax avoiding money laundering pirates, and got the legislation in place. That will take effect as of the end of 2019.

    They tried to derail it in many ways including trying to oust Merkel and install Macron (failed); stirring up ‘alt-right’ bs across the EU (failed) etc

    Now they have the UK gov actially threatening the EU with punitive action if the bankers don’t get to keep their global robbing ways AFTER brexit because they will be unable to function in the EU or anywhere in the world where the EU has interests and can police them. The sight of US heavies like Bannon stirring it up across Europe to destabilise the EU political and economic projects is desperate – they are happy to create the Russia threat and declare war to stop the EU progressing at massive cost to the UK citizens as of next year.

    Corbyns Labour is the answer in the UK as Podemos and 5 Star and others are across Europe – actual grassroots anti elite anti 0.00001 percenters.

    Corbyn as PM is not the same as President. He is just a figurehead. It is the grassroots rooting out the giant weeds that have taken over the Labour party over the last few decades that is the most effective and has the elite world connected establishment and their henchmen in a cold sweat as there is not enough carpet to sweep their criminal sins under.

    They would rather see mayhem and coup in the UK then let it get it’s soul and fair play and justice into power.

    I for one an ready to use all peaceful means to achieve that great day whether Corbyn gets to see it as PM or not is neither here or there – he has already succeeded in wresting the party away from the imperialist neo con Pharaohs.

    There must be an election not a coalition.

  7. Litchfield
    July 30, 2018 at 5:56 pm

    Bravo, Alexander Mercouris, for a great essay, and Bravo, CN, for including Mercouris in your repertoire of contributors
    He is one of my faves. I first encountered Mercouris on Peter Lavelle’s CrossTalk, which often was linked to The Saker blog (less so, now—not sure why). I have always been very impressed not only with his analysis, but also with his laconic, world-weary delivery.

    I want to know more about these “morbid symptoms”!!
    What are they?

  8. rosemerry
    July 29, 2018 at 4:22 pm

    Yesterday I read the link to Yves Smith “Naked Capitalism” and the article and comments are worth reading if people are interested.

  9. July 29, 2018 at 5:40 am

    There are multiple dimensions in this British phenomenon of “dreading” Corbyn.

    Of course, there are simply the many types who do not want to see any kind of socialistic-leaning government, and that very much includes Tony “Bloody” Blair and his acolytes, not just Tories.

    I think the author is quite right that concerns here are overworked because Corbyn is a moderate and reasonable man of the Left.

    There is also a smaller group who are disappointed in Corbyn’s stance over Brexit. They want him to decisively lead a Remain in Europe campaign.

    But there is a third group, and their opposition is the only one for which I would employ the author’s word “dread.”

    It is intensely biased and unfair and relentless. I actually think that some members of the first group of opponents, the Tony Blair types, are also under its influence.

    And it has made a great deal deal of noise over the time Corbyn has been leader. Indeed it has led a genuinely Joe McCarthy-type campaign against him.

    You may read about it here, for it is a complex story:

    https://chuckmanwordsincomments.wordpress.com/2018/04/04/john-chuckman-comment-corbyn-haters-turn-from-accusations-of-anti-semitism-to-criticizing-him-for-attending-a-passover-seder-it-just-doesnt-get-more-twisted/

    https://chuckmanwordsincomments.wordpress.com/2018/07/26/john-chuckman-comment-yet-again-a-lowlife-attack-on-britains-thoroughly-decent-jeremy-corbyn-this-time-by-three-jewish-papers-who-on-the-same-day-use-true-mass-killer-netanyahus-twisted-exist/

  10. Jose
    July 28, 2018 at 12:44 pm

    The British elite knows that change is on its way; They also know that they can stop what’s coming. They have been festering in their on juices and the public also have noticed. Mr. Corbyn seems to be the best and only hope for immediate change of course. I wish him luck for the old dogs will defend their interests and power. If they were logical, they should relinquish power for the good of the country. Elite stupidity has never ceased to amaze me.

  11. July 28, 2018 at 12:34 pm

    This entire article focuses on the politicians and very little discusses the British people. I am not British, but my impression is that the referred-to rebelliousness of the people is not solely because of immigration effects but also due to austerity measures imposed by the elites.

    • jose
      July 28, 2018 at 7:17 pm

      The British people are primarily responsible for what the power elite of that country have done and are doing. Remember, these powerful men will stop at nothing to perpetuate their wealth and power so it is up to the people to put and end to it. Besides, the former can go as far the people allow them to go.

  12. whiteylockmandoubled
    July 28, 2018 at 12:29 am

    This may be the most poorly reported, ill-informed article to appear at Consortiumnews. Anyone interested in understanding the facts about Brexit should head over to NakedCapitalism and read through the archive of Yves Smith’s writing since the referendum, which is always supplemented by the most thoughtful and informative commenters on the internet.

    The central description of May as someone who has approached Brexit from a technical perspective would be the funniest sentence in the site’s history if the reality behind it weren’t so devastating. She has approached it entirely through an absurdly narrow political lens — maintaining her position and that of the Tories — albeit with supreme incompetence. The British “plan,” the most important elements of which were rejected out of hand by the EU two years ago, is not cut and paste from other nations’, but is failing because it envisions a special deal for Britain because, well, Rule Britannia or whatever, something that the EU leadership told the UK would not happen the day after the vote. A technocrat would at least have the common sense to listen to her negotiating partners.

    The EU has not been mostly silent about the non-plan. The problem is that nobody in the British political class would listen when they told May its central tenets were non-starters two years ago, and when May finally published the moronic paper, Michel Barnier just said “non.” That’s not silence, it’s just rare clarity in 21st century political life. The paper itself is a political document that tried simultaneously to split the difference within the Tories and shift blame to the EU for the collapse of negotiations, neither of which she succeeded at.

    The debate is no longer between a “hard Brexit” and a “soft Brexit,” but between a Brexit on terms unacceptable to the right and no Brexit deal at all, or a “crash-out” Brexit. The odds overwhelmingly favor the latter, which will mean a devastating shock to the British economy.

    So the issue isn’t whether a Corbyn government should be “tried.” The issue is whether Corbyn and the Labour Party leadership are remotely prepared to implement a plan for Disaster Socialism, and whether the capitalist world, which will literally have the British economy by the throat, will allow them to implement such a plan. Great Britain, an island nation whose economy is deeply dependent on trade, is now seven months away from a world in which it literally has no formal agreements to trade anything with any nation on the planet. (a technocrat, by the way, would at least have spent the last two years mobilizing a bureaucracy to begin negotiating the thousands of agreements necessary to trade with the other 195 nations in the world).

    Corbyn’s statements on Brexit have been nearly as incoherent as May’s. The plans in Labour’s platform are laughable in the context that will engulf the party when it takes power. When Corbyn finally takes power, it will in part be because the British elites will have realized that they fucked things up so badly that it’s ok to let Labour clean up an intractable mess for a while and discredit itself while so doing.

    I’m utterly unconvinced that Britain can implement Social Democracy in One Country in the midst of a Depression with no leverage to gain favorable terms of trade with other countries. The Germans and French frowned and wagged their fingers at Greece as its economy collapsed. The British seem to think that because they used to be in the Big Kids’ Club that they won’t suffer the same fate. There’s a rude awakening coming. Syriza has not brought about radical social democracy in Greece. Why anyone thinks Corbyn will be able to do so under conditions that could be even worse than what happened to Greece is beyond me.

    He certainly hasn’t articulated anything compelling, save for state ownership of some industries.That, at least, will be easy enough to attain, because a lot of industry is going to fail or leave, although who the state-owned industries will sell the products to remains a mystery. But the idea that significant social progress can be achieved in Britain while the government is just trying to keep people fed and housed, and figuring out how to prevent a war in Ireland — because neither solution acceptable to the EU will be acceptable to all parties in Ireland — seems a little far-fetched. A Corbyn government after the post-Brexit crash will be a feature, not a bug for the British and global elite, who will see it as an opportunity to discredit socialism.

    • The Colonel
      July 29, 2018 at 9:47 am

      i dunno, i’m having a hard time seeing how the fact that Social Democracy only gets a look-in because the neoliberals ran the government & economy into the ground like a cheap rental car, & now intend to quietly walk away from the flames, can be seen as a mark against Corbyn.

      you either put out the fire or throw up your hands and watch it burn. the only certainty at this point is who was behind the wheel when you got into this mess.

    • Wally
      July 31, 2018 at 9:02 am

      “I’m utterly unconvinced that Britain can implement Social Democracy in One Country in the midst of a Depression ”

      Not anywhere near as bad a economic position as at the end of WW2 – yet the greatest social democratic ideals were put into place including the creation of the NHS. So i think you are a bit over pessimistic. It can be done.

      Most of your post is spot on. I would refer you to my post in EU banking regs that the UK politicians spent years trying to veto at the behest of the City and Wall St. It was only when Cameron failed to stop it that the massive illegally financed and media and tech was unleashed.

      All best.

  13. heath
    July 27, 2018 at 6:10 pm

    However there is an aspect that nobody has really touched on that I think is really important and that is the UK’s special relationship with the USA. If the UK goes into the EU, it will lose the special relationship with DC. Why? because the EU once it has figured out if the UK is in or out, becomes a superpower or as Mr Trump put it a couple of weeks ago now in his recent european tour a”foe” and if there is one thing DC hates its a near competitor. and the EU would become number 1 as a near competitor.leaving Russia and China far behind
    the Current situation suits DC down to the ground and the longer it goes the happier it will be. That why Trump was making nice with Putin at the end, A part of DC doesn’t want an alienated Russia hooking up with the EU.
    for the UK if it doesn’t have the special arrangement it goes in to the EU at the Madrid- Rome-Warsaw level rather than the Berlin Paris level. which is no good for Westminister. but its even worse influence wise, if they leave.

    • Litchfield
      July 30, 2018 at 6:06 pm

      I don’t understand what you mean when you say “it goes in to the EU at the Madrid- Rome-Warsaw level ”

      The UK is not “going into the Eu.” It is leaving the EU . . . .

  14. CF
    July 27, 2018 at 10:26 am

    I’m sorry! The Brexit vote to leave the EU, wasn’t a hit against the establishment as so many people seem to believe, it was an act of obedience. I’m sorry, but I live in a part of our country, the West Midlands, where 75% of the population voted to leave. They did so because the popular press, ie. The S*n, the Mail ect. filled them with hate for immigrants and assured them that if we left the EU we would “get back control,” whatever that means, and the working class obeyed.

    The Labour Party, whose membership elected Jeremy Corbyn as their leader, twice, is perhaps the only hope left for the majority of our people. It has moved decisively to the left. Hopefully, accepting the results of the referendum, we can re-establish our manufacturing base with well paid permanent employment which is the basis of a good life on which to bring up a family and not have to depend on the financiers in the City of London for our wellbeing.

    If we have the courage to start our own Government run bank, The Bank of the North, as John McDonald, shadow treasurer, has promised and the fortitude to re-nationalise the railways and water supply as well as the power grid, as most people in our country want, then the sky is the limit as to what we can achieve if we were to join the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative.

    I could go on but I’ll leave it there.

    .

    • Joe Tedesky
      July 27, 2018 at 11:06 am

      I agree National owned banks should trash the Rothschild dynasty, and allow freedom to ring. Great comment CF. Joe

      https://criminalbankingmonopoly.wordpress.com

    • July 28, 2018 at 4:30 am

      In the minds of those who voted Brexit, even the racists, their vote most certainly WAS a rejection of the establishment …. that is perceived as acting against the interests of ‘the people’ and for the interests of organised finance. The Sun and The Mail are part of the right/left mind-control theatre that exists to create the illusion of real choice for voters. There is no choice. We get the same masters whoever gets voted in, though matters are starting to run out of control for the powers that be. We live in interesting and rather scary times. Agree the bank is the big issue but nothing will work unless the public is thoroughly and openly educated re the nature of our reality. This is unlikely to happen until after the counter-revolution. The revolutionaries (against God and all that is decent) are in charge.

  15. Vivian O'Blivion
    July 27, 2018 at 6:12 am

    Corbyn is an essential part of the Brexit, perfect storm. As the article correctly identifies, the majority of the Labour Party membership and the Trade Union movement were substantially pro Remain (the position of the Parliamentary Labour Party is irrelevant to the issue as it is beholden to the Deep state). Corbyn is pro Leave and a pro Leave leader of the Labour Party is the once in a million anomaly.
    If anyone other than Corbyn was Leader, Labour would be pushing for either a soft Brexit or a second referendum.
    The argument that the (narrow) outcome of the referendum MUST be acted upon fails to acknowledge the rapidly expanding grasp of the historical background leading up to the vote.
    The illegal activities of the big money spivs and hedgies that funded the leave campaign is emerging on a daily basis. The empty promises on the side of busses have been revealed as just that.
    The Remain campaign was catastrophically inept. Cameron chose Gideon Osborne to “mastermind” the campaign and he allowed the Leave campaign to dictate the terms of the debate purely in terms of the transactional relationship between the UK and the EU. The Leave campaign were allowed to run riot with the false notion that there was some injustice to the UK paying more into the EU than it got out.
    The UK wide vote was a narrow victory for Leave at 52% to 48%. The breakdown by nation was: England & Wales 53% to 47%, Northern Ireland 44% to 56%, Scotland 38% to 62%.
    There was a massively more decisive vote in Scotland to remain than the desire expressed in England and Wales to leave. The reason behind this is twofold.
    The level of political education and engagement in the Scotish working class was significantly higher than that in England and Wales as a legacy of the 2014 Independence campaign.
    The terms of the EU referendum debate in Scotland was substantially set by the legacy Yes movement than it was by the official Remain campaign.

    A little tactless to refer to Teresa May as “colourless” given that she is a Type 1 diabetic, is under a great deal of stress and is quite visibly unwell.

    • Litchfield
      July 30, 2018 at 6:10 pm

      “Corbyn is pro Leave and a pro Leave leader of the Labour Party is the once in a million anomaly.”

      Huh? I thought Corbyn was basically pro-Remain, but accepts the result of hthereferendum . . .

    • Wally
      July 31, 2018 at 9:09 am

      That is a lie Viv – Corbyn campaigned for REMAIN.
      He didn’t have to.
      He was not in charge of the Labour Remain camp – they deliberately sidelined him for fear of letting him have the oxygen of MSM coverage while planning the coup to remove him the very day of the brexit result.

      Good try at a bit of gaslighting though.

  16. backwardsevolution
    July 27, 2018 at 2:22 am

    “A recent poll indicated UKIP is now more popular than Labour among working-class voters.”

    The working class? They don’t matter, do they? The people whose ancestors built the nation, a nation they no longer recognize?

    The establishment, in order to maintain their elite lifestyle and continue to prosper, have completely ruined their nation.

    London Bridge is falling down.

    • TS
      July 27, 2018 at 4:29 am

      “A recent poll indicated UKIP is now more popular than Labour among working-class voters.”

      What are you quoting here, backwardsevolution? Not this article, at any rate.

  17. Joe Tedesky
    July 26, 2018 at 10:39 pm

    Finally long after Reagan and Thacther destroyed the working man and women’s job opportunities, as then Bush and Blair illegally took both countries to war in the Middle East, the wheels on this awful bus are falling off. All of this as we free minded people search for an appropriate label to call ourselves. Are we progressive, or is liberal still even allowed? Will real progressivism be allowed to mature, or will the elite strangle this feared purposely ignored leftist infant in its crib?

    • KiwiAntz
      July 26, 2018 at 11:34 pm

      Never a truer word was said by anyone Joe! Thatcher famously said that “there was no such thing as Society” & took a wrecking ball to the working class, whom she despised. In NZ, my Country was the very first in the World to adopt this despicable economic policy of Neoliberalism! This was implemented by a finance Minister called Roger Douglas, a Thatcher disciple, in the 1980’s & called Rogernomics! It was done under the false premise of a currency crisis where none existed but they used it as a excuse to privatise State assets & create a race to the bottom, self centred mentality that the individual was responsible for his welfare over the collective good? We have never recovered from these policies & my Country has suffered because of this selfish, poisonous economic theory that has been a utter failure! Roger Douglas is now a despised & hated figure in NZ & his tenure totally discredited as Neoliberalism has been a utter, disastrous failure that my Country is still recovering from 38 yrs later!

      • Joe Tedesky
        July 27, 2018 at 10:19 am

        KiwiAntz I being a Pittsburghese somewhat reformed speaking ‘‘yinzer’ from the ‘Burg’ who still bleeds ‘Black & Yellow’ hears ya. During the Traffic Controller Reagan crushing union days, I who worked for my father volunteered I be laid off to save 2 employees from that. Our business inside of 1 quarter loss 40% of its revenue. Oh those were the days.

        I can’t see why every nation can’t employ at least a third of its population to manufacturer and grow product to provide for their own nation, and import a certain balance to keep their country solvent in world trade. The other two thirds of the nation would work to support the manufacturing and farming sector…. okay too simple, even kind of elementary, but none the less my plan includes everyone unlike Reagan/Thatcher who only complimented the Executive Class.

        We are like cattle, and KiwiAntz if you don’t believe me come to America and book a flight on one of our airlines. Of course the police state which will greet you at the airport will only be a rehearsal for the rude flight attendants you will meet once you are squeezed into your seat aboard the plane. Ha, ha, yes I’m traveling at this moment… but it’s a good example of how business not only downgraded the employee, it rained down hard on to the general public.

        Take care KiwiAntz Joe

        Ps the American Flight Attendant is an employee, and so is the TSA agent, so consider that before passing a harsh judgement upon them.

      • July 27, 2018 at 6:13 pm

        And this was done under a “left wing” Labour Party government.

    • Scott Edelen
      July 27, 2018 at 1:01 am

      I very much respect your steady and well thought out comments here on CN Joe, but surely you don’t give serious credence to the terms liberal and progressive in today’s political arena.

      This article lays it out pretty clearly really, and this is just one of so many that we read daily. We all know that the cards are stacked against us quite severely. What is so wrong with the term radical? Do we not want to change our value systems as represented by our elected class in fundamental ways? We talk endlessly about which party will collapse first and how, in fact, both parties are nothing but different images of the same face. We talk of the collapse of our supposed democracy and the impending threat of the crushing of the free exchange of ideas, truth and knowledge, but we greatly resist saying the word Radical in a political context. Why?

      • Scott Edelen
        July 27, 2018 at 1:10 am

        Just to note, when I refer to “our” and “two parties” I am referring to the U.S.A. specifically, although I believe the spirit of what I says holds truth globally.

      • Joe Tedesky
        July 27, 2018 at 10:29 am

        Scott I went between 1972 & 1992 as a apolitical person, then I register Democrat for a few years, then Republican for about 2 years, then back to Democrat ….. now I belong to ‘the Observer Party’. I don’t know what I am, but I’ve grown tired of the confusion that’s for sure. From the Tea Party to the RussiaGate fanatics America is controlled by the MSM to be a divided nation. Divided we fall is in action, as our country quits talking with each other to instead we scream at each other. So Scott it comes down to be being who you are, and hopefully everything will work out.

        Good to hear your thoughts Scott. Joe

    • Bob Van Noy
      July 27, 2018 at 9:57 am

      Many thanks Joe for your clear headed wisdom. I think it takes the long-term perspective of a bright but Regular person to ultimately put light to our current global dilemma. What do I mean? I mean that the Normal Citizen, who has played the game as though it was Not a game but because that’s how a good and honest citizen behaved, has learned over a lifetime (empirically) that he and she has been fundamentally deceived, that leadership was dishonest in there concepts and in their philosophy, these Citizens, participated willingly with the Laws, did the right things, payed the price of Citizenship, only to discover that an Overclass of political manipulators had a different idea about what America should be, they also had the political savvy to manipulate the government as they saw it. The problem is…, and now it is our problem, that the Elite didn’t ask the People for any input, they simply assumed that they were right. The People became The Deplorables because they finally refused to participate in policies that counter their best interest.

      The concept of Empire is Failed. Nobody Ever asked the American Public if they wanted to participate in the actions of Empire. That is why General Smedley Butler’s name and life- argument always comes up, only the non-participating elite are willing to pay the price of Empire, why? because they Don’t Pay It. Now it’s up to Us to straighten things up, to re-invent our Democracy, a task that I think we’re quite capable of accomplishing…

    • Joe Tedesky
      July 27, 2018 at 11:22 am

      This article could describe the myth of both England and the U.S.

      https://www.rt.com/op-ed/434360-american-society-myths-lee-camp/

    • Stephen Lane
      July 27, 2018 at 4:51 pm

      Joe, all we can do is to strive to be Human.

      Best wishes.

      • Joe Tedesky
        July 27, 2018 at 5:46 pm

        Agreed.

    • robjira
      July 27, 2018 at 9:19 pm

      Forget the labels, Joe; they’re invented by our “betters” to keep us divided against ourselves. You’re a fair-minded, decent human being which transcends any label; just leave it at that.
      Peace.

      • Joe Tedesky
        July 27, 2018 at 10:43 pm

        Thanks robjira, I really appreciate that. At least my rant makes us all a little closer. Joe

    • July 29, 2018 at 1:09 pm

      Joe, I do believe there is an agenda or platform that could rally the people. I think one of the things often mentioned that serves as a barrier to coalescence is the divisive identity politics that gets people in a frenzy and steers them away from such a agenda. Peace, universal health care, worker protection, progressive taxation, election reform all come to mind. What people might buy into is a community not called liberal, progressive, democrat, and republican which are owned by some pretty illiberal, extremist, unprogressive, undemocratic folks.

      • Joe Tedesky
        July 29, 2018 at 1:22 pm

        Sounds like your on to something, Herman. Joe

  18. Jeff Harrison
    July 26, 2018 at 9:12 pm

    It’s great getting a peek at the British government but sadly it didn’t explain how Britain went from the Queen of the seas to American vassal state.

    • joeblogs
      July 27, 2018 at 7:41 am

      Jeff, my comment to TS above explains part of it, also: the ‘Dreadnought’ arms race was the reason why so few silver coins were minted by Great Britain (as she was known then!) in 1905. The silver went to the arms manufactures to build these revolutionary battleships.

      Then, in 1920, they were cut up for scrap. They might as well have just thrown the silver in the sea to begin with, and saved a lot of bother, for what good the ships did the public. At the same time, the silver coin was debased from Sterling (92.5%) to silver (50%) – and prices shot up. This hit the working class and the middle classes the worst – ‘Gold is the money of kings, and the king of money; silver is the coin of the artisan and craftsman; bronze is the token for slaves.’ Strikes and inflation became regular occurrences.

      The next decade was, as they say, another story entirely…

    • Mathew Neville
      July 27, 2018 at 10:26 am

      Jeff Harrison ,

      “Britain went from the Queen of the seas to American vassal state” because of WWI & WWII & beligerant alcoholic Winston Churchill.

      A Churchill quote from when “Britain was Queen of the seas” ! !
      “I do not understand the squeamishness about the use of gas. I am strongly in favor of using poison gas against uncivilized tribes . It would spread a lively terror.”
      — Winston Churchill, 1920, with regard to the uprising in Iraq.

  19. SteveK9
    July 26, 2018 at 9:01 pm

    Corbyn, Sanders, and Trump are different faces of the same general disgust with the status quo. Although I expect that is obvious to most. Corbyn will indeed face the wrath of every center of power in the country, very similar to Trump, although the men are not similar at all.

    • SteveK9
      July 26, 2018 at 9:03 pm

      And of course there is Salvini and many others in Europe.

  20. Zim
    July 26, 2018 at 8:53 pm

    Thanks for this post. Very interesting the parallels of Brexit with the rise of tRump. Nervous breakdown of the establishment, indeed.

  21. Mathew Neville
    July 26, 2018 at 6:30 pm

    May I suggest that the U.K.Government has behaved in a childish & selfish manner especially since the Thatcher era in flexing its “warlike” nature as in the Falklands , Afghanistan , Iraq , Libya & Syria etc.

    Even when Cameron lost the Parliamentary vote to “war” on Syria it did not stop this belligerent nature of the U,K,.

    Another example was when UK Foreign Secretary & Zionist David Milliband suggested in the Blair era that the sacrifices being made by British forces in Afghanistan (Helmand ) were as vital to UK National Security as the efforts made to defend the “White Cliffs of Dover” from the Nazis in WWII..

    Now we have neocon Boris Johnson with his career aided by his cultivated “friendship” with President Trump waiting in the wings to worry about !

    We can only hope that Mr.Corbyn can survive all the unsubstantiated attacks of “anti-semitism” directed his way by the MSM & the Zionist lobby & become the UK Prime Minister ASAP & get the UK away from it’s belligerent nature.

    Cost of UK Air and Drone Strikes in Iraq and Syria Reach £1.75 billion
    http://truepublica.org.uk/united-kingdom/cost-of-

    • SteveK9
      July 26, 2018 at 9:03 pm

      Anti-semite, Putin-puppet … reality does not matter. Just say it over and over.

  22. Seamus Padraig
    July 26, 2018 at 6:16 pm

    “…though Corbyn’s social democratic programme does indeed offer an alternative to the Thatcherite settlement, which in Britain represents the status quo, and is a conceivable programme around which to prepare Britain for life outside the EU, it is also one which is completely unacceptable to Britain’s establishment.”

    And it’s also unacceptable to the EU, whose Growth & Stability Pact (2010) forbids, for example, such Corbyn favorites as re-nationalizing British Rail. Corbyn, like his old mentor Tony Benn, was once opposed to the EU back in the 80s. It would be interesting to know what his (real) thoughts on the matter are now. So far, though, Corbyn seems to be a somewhat tepid supporter of Remain.

    • Susan Sunflower
      July 27, 2018 at 12:34 am

      Yes, even before the vote, Corbyn was tepid stay based on the job losses (particularly lots of very good banking industry jobs) and loss of employment mobility for UK citizens of all ages — part of why the young supported stay — and because the promised windfall for the NHS was recognizably fraud. The people to be hurt by Brexit were largely those who could least afford it even if “working class” swallowed the already well-entrenched anti-immigrant / refugee cant.

      The foundational objections to the EU and/or loss of sovereignty issues remain and he was sympathetic … support for stay was — in this age of end-stage capitalism — pragmatic … particularly since Brexit doesn’t hothing to address poverty or the neoliberal scourge of income inequality (for that mater, as you may recall, did it provide a release valve for racial / immigrant issues, rather, like trump, legimitize bigotry) … what’s not to love.

    • Piotr Berman
      July 28, 2018 at 7:52 pm

      Tepid support of Remain is actually a very smart plank for the Labour. Pretending that EU is the newest Shangi-la alienates large number of voters, while recognizing that EU has faults at least promises to take care of them, UK being a large state after all. For example, it should be easy to trade the size of UK contribution to EU budget for exemptions on issues like restoring state ownership of railways, water utilities, and some pro-industrial policies. Getting approval for crooked bananas should not be complicated either if the voters really care about that. In the same time, Exit plank would surrender too many voters to Liberals.

      Conservative Brexiters wanted to have freedom from labor rights and other human rights “dictated” by the European Court. I guess it is not that popular, because in the campaign they raised totally dishonest issues like increasing the funding for the national health service.

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