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The country I walked through deserves better than Brexit | Mike Carter | Opinion | The Guardian
Nearly everyone I spoke to in those towns said they were going to vote for Brexit. There was a lot of talk of “taking back control”, and in the context of the industrial wastelands, that sentiment made a lot of sense. But the EU issue was, for a majority, a proxy for their pain.

There was a brief moment when it appeared the Conservatives grasped this. When Theresa May became prime minister on 13 July 2016, after David Cameron had fled the post-referendum carnage, she addressed the “just about managing” and said the government “will be driven not by the interests of the privileged few, but by yours … When we take the big calls, we’ll think not of the powerful, but you.”

But since then we have had a government paralysed by Brexit, effectively not governing at all. We have ongoing crises in most aspects of public policy: housing, transport, prisons, the benefits system, health, education. Homelessness is rocketing, as is food bank use. In some areas of our inner cities, Dickensian diseases such as rickets and beriberi have re-emerged. At a time when politicians should be reaching out to leave voters with concrete proposals for rebalancing our economy, heavily based as it is on services and centred in the south-east, we get a continuation of turbo-charged austerity. In their call for a second referendum, remainers should ask themselves whether the anger that drove the result in June 2016 has been even remotely addressed.

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Brexit will deliver none of this. As driven by the right, it is the final part of the race to the bottom that started 40 years ago. There are no easy answers, but until our politicians begin to acknowledge that the globalised neoliberal economic model is a disaster for human beings and the planet we inhabit, we will remain angry and scared and vulnerable to dog whistles. And maybe that is the point.
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