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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 weeks ago by petej
Theresa May is now a lame duck – too weak to take back control of her party | Martin Kettle | Opinion | The Guardian
More profoundly – much more profoundly – this vote was a wake-up call about the terminal sterility of a certain kind of Conservative vision. It’s a kind of Conservatism that is a confluence of two different traditions, and the Tory party is too respectful to both of them. On the one hand, there is a white establishment tradition, largely English rather than British in mentality, that has not come to terms with the loss of empire, dislikes foreigners, and which somehow equates Brexit with the restoration of British superiority and power. On the other, there are Thatcher’s children, often self-made, self-confident, petit bourgeois, anti-foreigner and anti-state, flirting with Ukip, beguiled by the Great in Great Britain and irreconcilable to any European engagement.

May’s critics are genuinely hopeless at politics. They can cause a lot of trouble. But they cannot, will not, take responsibility for practical action in government. They appear to believe that there is a Commons majority for their faith-based, crash-out, free-at-last, ourselves-alone Brexit if only they can install a true believer and bring the DUP back onside. The vote confirmed that is not true. The naivety is breathtaking. Such a Tory leader would lose any Brexit bill or confidence vote. Luckily for the Tory party, most MPs proved today they are not so foolish.

In the end, it’s the recklessness over Ireland, an instinct that lies deep in the DNA of part of the Tory party, that is the most frightening piece of foolishness. These fanatics, playing footsie with a DUP clique that puts sectarianism above the wider needs of a Northern Ireland that voted remain, are the direct political descendants, though with half the talent, of people such as Lord Randolph Churchill in the 1890s, FE Smith in the 1910s and Enoch Powell in the 1970s. All of them tried to play the Orange card. All of them did so with awful results for Ireland and Britain alike. As Talleyrand said of the Bourbons, they have learned nothing and forgotten nothing – and they proved it again this week.
UK  politics  ToryParty  leadership  MayTheresa  TheRight  Brexit  authority  dctagged  dc:creator=KettleMartin  conservatism  nationalism  xenophobia  Thatcherism  neoliberalism  delusion  Ireland 
december 2018 by petej

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