[W]hatever the stories of the millions of people who ended up backing it, Brexit originated in the failure of successive Conservative leaders to adequately deal with a tribe of uncontrollable Tory ideologues, and in the ingrained tendency of post-Thatcher Conservatives to play fast and loose with the livelihoods and security of the rest of us. In an awful instance of irony, the misery and resentment sown by the deindustralisation the Tories accelerated in the 1980s and the austerity they pushed on the country 30 years later were big reasons why so many people decided to vote leave. What also helped was a surreal campaign of lies and disinformation, both during and after the referendum campaign, waged by entitled people with their eyes only on the main chance.
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.
Which brings us to the question that, for all my lingering ambivalence, I cannot shake off: if the Labour party leadership is so radical, and allied with the best leftwing traditions, where is its anger about what these people have done? [Continue reading…]