Friday, 24 June 2016

Independence Day: Resurgence

Last night I had genuinely not expected to wake up to a Britain in the first stages of national independence - and nor did many others. Many leading Leave activists were predicting a Leave vote of 40-45%. Although I was not so negative, I thought Remain would push us down to 47-48%, respectable but, as Harry Oppenheimer once said, '51% is control'.

On the Left, my friend on the Morning Star editorial team was getting angry at what he thought were lost opportunities and the capture of the debate over 'free movement of labour' by the Right. Later that evening on the BBC, it was heartening to see John McDonnell at least try to address this concern where no Kinnockite or Blairite  would - perhaps there is hope for the Labour Party after all.

I dropped in on the Leave.EU Post-Referendum Party and nearly the first person I saw was a chipper Arron Banks who told me that private polling of 10,000 people had predicted a 52:48 vote in favour of Leave and that the swing would be produced by an angry industrial or post-industrial Northern working class but that London and Scotland would counter that somewhat. He turned out to be right.

I kept an open mind but no one else I spoke to at the event (I left early to 'be with my family' at what might have been the political equivalent of armageddon) took the poll seriously. This is how gloomy Leave had become after the onslaught of the entire Liberal Establishment, the manipulations of Project Fear, the viciousness of the Labour-driven Project Slander and the calculated sentiment of Project Vigil.

And then I awoke (my family remained for the duration) to victory and to the prospect of sunshine, a day off and a visit to the cinema to see the afternoon performance of 'Independence Day: Resurgence'. What had originally been an ironic consolation will now be an unalloyed pleasure regardless of the quality of the film. Suddenly all the planning for the consequences of defeat was no longer required. There was only one task ahead - to 'defend the revolution' by any means necessary.

Since Remain had behaved so appallingly in the last ten days of the Campaign and still appears not to get (at least on its Left) why it had lost, we Leavers must act without any weakness of will or false attempt at a reconciliation with people who have bullied and lied but, above all, shown utter cavalier lack of respect for the independent decision-making powers of the British people. The people who had been ignored and treated with disrespect had fought back. If Labour does not learn its lesson (and it shows every sign of being incapable of doing so) what happened in Scotland will happen to in the North of England.

There is no reason to explore the reasons why Remain lost (because, let us be clear, Leave only won because Remain lost) but only to note that the alienation of the Leave Left started and ended with an atmosphere of bullying and disrespect that was evident as early as April. Left Leavers will not be easily cowed now. But there is something more disturbing to note - Leave managed to tip itself over the edge because of the organisational drive and activist dynamism of UKIP.

That is just a fact on the ground. The irresponsible abandonment of the Northern post-industrial working class by the Labour Party (John Mann was visibly angry about this on the BBC last night very early in the game) had handed it over not to wet liberal middle class patronising bastards in the centre but to national populists. National populists are democrats but they can and will ally with similar forces across Europe who are speaking for the abandoned classes of Europe while the middle classes enrich themselves on globalisation. And these democratic forces are not socialist or liberal, some may not even be democratic.

That is the real change to consider - the utter failure of the Radical Centre, whether Kinnockite, Blairite, Liberal Democrat (long since busted) or Cameronian to share power with the mass, bring prosperity, share difficulties fairly and evenly but, above all, not to disrepect a working class they clearly despise openly and sometimes humiliate. The failure of the Left has been the opportunity for the Right. Remain's debacle is down to the soft and liberal left, not the Right which is only learning to be politically effective year by year because the Left is run by fools.

The revolution (so to speak) is not the independence of Britain (which is simply a restoration of the right order of things and an opportunity to make change happen) but the potential for the overturning of a failed and arrogant elite. This elite presumed to speak for the people despite the dodginess of its hold over democratic procedures. Even now prominent Centrists regret the very fact of a referendum because it came up with the 'wrong result'. Now that is arrogance!

Democracy is an absolute value and yet the democrats are now on the Right. This should worry everyone who claims to liberal or socialist values. It is the 'real' Left that has to organise now both to challenge UKIP within the framework of national independence (for the sake of liberalism and socialism) yet, if necessary, to work alongside the independence Right against the Radical Centre (for the sake of democracy) and either to force Labour to return to its roots or get out of the way.

Some recognition is due to Left activists who fought the good fight against the odds but picking out names would be invidious. They know who they are. They would have fought on even if Remain had inveigled itself to victory through its command of the media and government. Life is good today but it is only the first day of a struggle to make the prospect of a paper independence a material reality that will bring a fairer Britain.