Friday, 10 June 2016

Some questions for Labour remainers

For many the key reservation about Brexit is that it could lead to a radical Tory government who would privatise everything in sight and abolish workers rights. I can't really persuade anyone not to think along these lines because it means having a conversation about adult things with an irrational child mind. It ignores history as much as it ignores reality. It precludes the possibility of a grown up conversation.

But supposing we vote remain. What are we left with then? The scenario I imagine is that Tories will be fuming if we vote to remain. Most of their anger will be directed at Cameron and many like myself will declare that under no circumstances will we vote for a party with that man as leader. They will oust Cameron and if I had to put money on it, I would say Gove is the next Tory leader, not least as a reconciliation gesture.

And though Gove is taking some bad advice on the details of Brexit, we could actually do a lot worse for a PM. I could maybe vote for that Conservative party. I doubt it because I don't think I will ever trust that party again. But you know how it goes. People are tribal. They will vote Tory to keep out the Labour shambles. And let's face it, Labour has nothing going for it does it?

At this point nobody believes Corbyn will be leading the party by the next election. If he is, that's as good as rolling out the red carpet for Gove. But then supposing you get rid of Corbyn and install someone more pedestrian. It would have to be someone with sufficient distance from Blair but also not one of the Corbyn clan.

So what you'll have then is a nothing of a party. It won't have any real ideals or principles or even ideas. Just another snobby, condescending leftoid party who thinks wanting immigration controls is a moral faux pas. Nobody in Labour has the guts to break from the middle of the road soft left consensus. The party is in thrall to the moral bankruptcy on the left.

What it will do is yet again pretend that Britain is some poverty stricken third world slum that needs labour to lift us from our destitution. It's what Ed Miliband tried and nobody bought it then either. We won't even see any muscular leftism which actually has anything to do with real workers concerns. All we'll get is more asinine nostrums about fairness and taxing people. Yawn.

And I do not say this as a right winger who Labour could never tempt. I despise this crop of Tories. But it's just that Labour doesn't speak my language at all and offers me nothing that would improve my lot. The short of it is, you are getting really right wing conservative party until at least 2025.

The joke of it is, I don't even think the public wants a really right wing conservative government but that's the default option because Labour sucks that much. Their slavish devotion to the EU has been noticed and many voters will either bog off to Ukip or just not bother voting at all. Frank Field is on Twitter today saying he expects Labour to lose a million votes because of it. It's no less than you deserve.

It will take until 2020 for Labour to at least gets its act together and a few years more to start looking presentable. The only way it's going to manage that is to ditch anything that makes it appeal to the left of the party - just like Blair did. So what you are actually voting for is exactly what you fear. A really right wing Tory party followed by a right wing (ish) Labour party with more or less no radical policy moves because we will still be stuck in the EU.

So yes, you might get your way in preventing a really right wing government doing anything but you prevent the possibility of a left wing government and if you get one it will be restrained for similar reasons.

All the while that same resentment and weariness with the political establishment will continue to fester. If it does not manifest itself via Ukip, then it will be some other unanticipated way. This is the same resentment that caused this referendum in the first place. By accident of numbers we could see an entirely new movement sweep the whole sorry lot away. I'm not sure who will be running it or what it will do but I rather suspect you will hate it.

I could be wrong, but I suppose what I am saying is that voting to remain in the EU for the purposes of maintaining this creaking political deadlock is going to do none of us any favours in the long run. It just means we'll spend the next decade having very bitter, very tribal rows and actually accomplish nothing except divide the country even more. That's why we'll have another EU referendum by the way.

But what if we leave now? Well, our MPs have already said they won't let us leave the single market even if we leave the EU so most of what you like about the EU remains in tact. And after promising immigration controls and a bonfire of regulation, the Vote Leave muppets are going to look like a spent force, Cameron will have resigned and the Tory party will be in a right old mess.

You will then have kicked up a scare about what the government might do with our new found freedoms and there may be an outside chance of even Corbyn snatching the crown. And though I find that prospect rather revolting, I will actually put up with that for all of five years if it means getting out of the EU. It means we resolve a very long dispute, everybody gets a little of something they want and we can move past this deadlock. It's the only way the country is ever going to heal.

It makes for a period of uncertainty and political instability, which is a facet of any healthy democracy but at least there is an eventual conclusion and a settlement to it where we will have seen some reforms. Compare that with maintaining the "stability" and "certainty" we get from staying. It may notionally be stable and certain but it's massively unhealthy.

Put simply, voting to remain is like ignoring a growth you suspect has gone malignant. Instead of going to the doctor, you ignore it and let it spread. Before you know it your whole system is riddled with an untreatable cancer.

Don't for a moment think that a remain vote will settle anything because I for one am not going away and there are millions more like me. You can suppress it a while longer, you can maintain the orthodoxy a few more years and you can enjoy gloating if you want, but it's coming back at you eventually. And when it happens, it's entirely on you. You haven't really thought this through have you?

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