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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.
UK  Brexit  economy  inequality  poverty  deindustrialisation  homelessness  anger  housing  rents  gambling  Bet365  austerity  localGovernment  cuts  AlstonPhilip  UN  politics  TheRight  neoliberalism 
9 days ago by petej
Dreams of a No-Deal Nation | Red Pepper
Just like the original vote to Leave, the strength of the ‘no deal’ story is not its facts but its feelings, not its statistics but its sentiments. What is the story of ‘no deal nation’? No deal nation is strong, steeled for the disruption of ‘no deal’. It is powerful to the point of petulance, defiant of the demands from Brussels. But above all, it is in control, unchained from European rules, whether a customs union or the backstop. It might be materially bad, but it damn well feels good. It offers hope of a future of pride and dignity. Fighting the idea of no deal nation with facts will not work: ‘hope that is seen is not hope: for who hopes for what he sees?’

The more that ‘no deal’ demands sacrifice, the more its popularity will grow: the higher the price, the greater the prize. No deal nation is bolstered by a fuzzy reading of history, self-soothing with stories of its past. It reassures itself: the last time we stood alone, Britain emerged in triumph and the Europeans in tragedy; we prospered before 1972 and will do so again. Do not imagine that the reality of a ‘no deal’ Brexit will change this: confirmation bias will kick in. The Brexit faithful will conclude that they have been punished by devious elites who never wanted to Leave and by European opponents who never had our interests at heart. Rather than undermining Brexit, the ‘no deal’ disaster would merely confirm their suspicion they were right to vote to Leave.
UK  EU  Brexit  noDeal  BBCQT  nationalism  AndersonBenedict  storytelling  deindustrialisation  dignity  emotion  defiance  sacrifice  delusion  Lexit  stateAid  politics  dctagged  dc:creator=KibasiTom 
25 days ago by petej
Brexit proved our economy is broken, but our leaders still have no clue how to fix it | Aditya Chakrabortty | Opinion | The Guardian
It ultimately comes down to this: decades of privatisation, hammering unions and chucking billions at the housing market while stripping the welfare state has effectively ended any semblance of a national, redistributive economy in which a child born in Sunderland can expect to have similar life chances to one born in Surrey. Yet politicians remain fixated on mechanisms that no longer work adequately for those who actually depend on the economy. They obsess over GDP growth when the benefits of that are unequally shared between classes and regions. They boast about job creation when wages are still on the floor.
UK  economy  inequality  Brexit  CoetzeeRyan  OsborneGeorge  HammondPhilip  DuncanSmithIain  deindustrialisation  unemployment  privatisation  cuts  GDP  LegatumInstitute  dctagged  dc:creator=ChakraborttyAditya 
6 weeks ago by petej
Brexit is a class betrayal. So why is Labour colluding in it? | John Harris | Opinion | The Guardian
These things are part of a vast charge sheet not only against the modern Conservative party, but an alliance of old and new money that has set the basic terms of British politics for the past 40 years. Jacob Rees-Mogg and Boris Johnson were educated at the same exclusive school as the prime minister whose idiotic decision to hold a referendum gave them their opportunity. Nigel Farage and Arron Banks are archetypal examples of the kind of spivs who were given licence to do as they pleased in the 80s. For all their absurd bleating about “elites”, we all know what these people represent: the two faces of the modern English ruling class, who have long combined to be nothing but trouble.
UK  Brexit  Leave  ToryParty  deindustrialisation  austerity  referendum  misinformation  dishonesty  Thatcherism  opposition  LabourParty  withdrawalAgreement  noDeal  PeoplesVote  class  dctagged  dc:creator=HarrisJohn 
november 2018 by petej

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