The Blog

The EU Referendum: Tories Sharpen Their Cutlasses Whilst The Baby Learns To Swim


So it would appear that the 'Leave' campaign has been victorious. Four long months of propaganda, mistruths, and barely veiled xenophobia have managed to get up enough momentum to shoulder charge the UK through the EU fire exit. I have to be honest in that I am bitterly disappointed. To leave the EU was, for me a massive risk in an age where politicians have aready used fear of the unknown, and financial upheaval against the poorest and the most vulnerable to force their ideological will, and the whims of their donors upon the electorate, and here we are now, with the same electorate handing them those politicians the chance of a lifetime when it comes to dismantling the few rights that workers were guaranteed, thanks to the EU being able to blunt the Tory cutlass.

Of course, not every vote for Brexit was a vote for UKIP xenophobia. For many, it was a vote for change, or a vote to embarrass the political establishment, to send them a message that they are out of touch. Quite why they didn't do this when they had the chance of keeping the odious Tory party from office, I will never know. Either way, the message has been sent, and Britain has no option now but to try and make the post-EU wild blue yonder work.

My home city, Hull voted decisively in favour of leave. It is a place where people have battled to stay afloat in the face of industrial decline, creeping poverty, and decades in the political and cultural wilderness. The fishing industry, factories, and Caravan manufacturing have come and gone, largely thanks to the decisions of slanted DOMESTIC governance, not the EU. Many here have voted to go, because they see alot of refugees and immigrants making their homes here. They see Eastern Europeans filling unskilled jobs, and wages falling gradually as a result. They have flipped the political coin, but only seen one side of it. Siemens, the German multi-national, has signed an historic multimillion pound deal to open a huge compex within Hull's docks, producing wind turbines, green technologies, and conducting research into renewable energies. This brought the promise of an economic and industrial renaissance, with thousands of jobs created within the complex, the local supply chain, and the surrounding economy.

Will Siemens be as keen to base such a massive complex outwith the borders of the EU? I sincerely hope so. Hull, East Yorkshire, and the Humber region needs it.

Overall, yesterday showed us three things. It showed us just how easy it is to win any debate if you have the means to skew the media message, soething that Farage and co were ably assisted in by the Murdoch press et al. I find it hugely ironic that a man such as Murdoch, more powerful thanks to the cowardice of his political bedfellows than any elected official, gets away with making his fortune by printing lies and distortions about a supposedly 'unaccountable' government!

It showed us that politicians of all hues have failed spectacularly to take ownership of the real debate that is needed when it comes to immigration. We need cold, dispassionate analysis of the statistical truth, not flag waving jingoism, and extrapolated guesswork. If the performance of both campaigns in the EU referendum leaves a single legacy, it should be that it finally convinced us all that politics is well and truly broken.

It also showed us just how histrionic and unstable the financial markets are. In the early hours, Remain were apparently ahead in the polls, and the markets rallied. As it became clear that Leave had won, the pound collapsed, falling to it's lowest level since the Thatcherite heyday of 1985. Why do we invest so heavily in this inherently emotional and unpredictable discipline? I overheard some work colleagues yesterday lamenting the fall of Britain's industrial base. Why we ever allowed Thatcher to strip this nation of it's tools, of it's skills, and of it's industry, will forever be a source of mystery and anger for me. Europe didn't take that away, and leaving Europe will not bring it back.

The only thing that leaving Europe will bring, is the unknown.

I hope very much that the unknown will not herald a tory law burning jamboree, where worker's rights are slashed and the jackboot of the right is placed even more firmly upon the neck of the poor. In the meantime though, as we hope not to regret this move, the baby that is our rights under law as non tax avoiding ordinary people had better learn to swim, and fast. For I fear that it has just been slung out with some very murky bathwater.

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