Brexit is no opportunity – to keep the youth vote we must fight for Remain

1st August, 2017 10:59 am

Jeremy Corbyn and Liam Fox want exactly the same thing for entirely the opposite reasons and neither appear to see a hazard in this. One wants a socialist state to end neo-liberalism, while the other wants a beacon of free market capitalism. Yet they are working together to achieve this joint endeavour, oblivious to the conflict.

The argument of riots on the street if the referendum isn’t enacted doesn’t wash anymore. Those of us in favour of Remain are no longer the 48 per cent, we are the 54 per cent and growing. Further to this, the polls show that an even larger majority of people want to stay in the single market and customs union, and that’s without the advocacy of a major political party.

The more we get bogged down by farming standards and rights of EU-born citizens, the more we realise that this is just the tip of a giant iceberg – a thousand coming issues of contention where Britain is the one that will be forced to back down and accept the terms of others.

We might be the fifth largest economy, but this figure is misleading. US GDP is $18.5tn while ours is just $2.6tn. The EU and China are comparable in size to the US, while Japan is double our size. To call ourselves the fifth largest economy suggests we make up a fifth of the output of those five economies, when in fact we measure just 5 per cent – a fifth of a fifth. We are not an equal player. We are tiny.

The promise of “massive opportunities” has not been made out. If those opportunities are for businesses and exporters, then why has there been such a massive cut in corporate investment? To argue that this is due to uncertainty is not enough. The company that doesn’t invest when his competitor does is the company that goes out of business. But neither that company nor its competitor are investing. Why are they not seeing the massive opportunities and seeking to take advantage? The answer is that the massive opportunities don’t exist. They never did.

Following the referendum the first Brexit blog I wrote on LabourList mocked the slogan “Take Back Control.” The prime minister was gone, Farage resigned, Boris and Gove were out. The Brexiteers had lost control. It hasn’t changed since then. They only appear to have control due to the complete absence of opposition to their policy. They are at sea without a sail and we should be taking them down not swimming out to join them.

Barry Gardiner described Norway as a vassal state for being in the single market without an EU vote. I’ve scratched my head to try to try to interpret this remark, and all I can conclude is that he advocates “Take Back Control”. Even when we watch the Tories fail, we still want to copy them.

Leaving the single market is a loss of control. The chlorinated chicken issue is a good example. The British created the animal welfare laws of Europe. We imposed these standards on France, yet we will be powerless to stop lower American standards being imposed on us, because we have no control. By leaving the EU we are a fifth of a fifth and will be treated as such. We are powerless.

David Davies is the future leader of the Tories. The only reason he hasn’t made his move already is because he knows that the Brexit policy has gone wrong. Because he is a Brexiteer he can take his party with him if Brexit is abandoned. With him as leader and dumping Brexit, where would that leave Labour, when we are the party that has supported the policy, even when it became obvious that it was failing?

People voted Brexit because they felt powerless. Nothing in the Brexit policy has happened nor will happen to solve that issue, but with Labour backing Brexit the sense of powerlessness has moved from the forgotten working class to the mass of the Labour membership and electorate. We are the ignored, but not by a distant state or an impersonal world economy, but by the very people we elected to lead us into the next election.

Labour is only marginally ahead in the polls. We are totally reliant on the young vote coming out with the same enthusiasm as they did at the June general election. There is no guarantee that they will. The huge swell of enthusiasm for a democratic vote could have been nothing more than a fad. It is vital that we keep them on board, yet the biggest issue that upsets them is Brexit. So why are we doing this?

The life-long dream of the Labour left, to create a more socialist world, would be destroyed if we missed the opportunity to form the next government. Why would Brexit be more important than that?

The right wing of the Labour party will reorganise their power, without needing to say “I told you so”. A whole generation will pass before the left might possibly have another chance to show the world what can be achieved by a radical socialist government. Why would Brexit be more important than that?

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