Well, now we know: it’s out, and by a substantial margin. As predicted, chaos and confusion reigns, but certain conclusions seem clear enough.
- Promises are already being broken. The magic £350 million saved by Brexit will not be going to the NHS after all, so says Nigel Farage. How long will it be until farmers and Cornwell – both promised continuation of EU grants – get the same good news.
- The Brexit vote was not about the EU. It seemed to serve as a general purpose anti-establishment protest by marginalised and disadvantaged citizens – most of them former Labour voters.
This is of crucial, even existential importance to our Party. A major group of our people now feel so isolated and neglected that they align themselves with the ludicrous fictions of Boris and Nigel and associate the EU with all the distant, uncaring authorities making their lives difficult. And the Labour Party supported the other side.
We need to re-establish that link and trust – quite how is not clear, except that it will not be through the smooth managerialism beloved of the Blairite wing of the Party: that is what our lost people have come to dispise and mistrust. This is a revolutionary situation and needs a drastic, if democratic perspective; and here we have an advantage – a leader of honesty and integrity, free of the taint of the bosses.
Jeremy Corbyn has been criticised for not taking a more fervant and enthusiastic line on Remain, but this is exactly why he can speak to our former comrades. We need a new, socialist message to illuminate the source of their disadvantage and bring them back to the fold.
Corbynism is the only way forward.
This shows some of the people spreading the word in Seaton on Saturday morning 11th June. It was overcast and spitting with rain, so footfall was not high: nevertheless, we spoke to some few dozen souls. Some of them were committed to the cause and a handful were open to persuasion; but the majority were Exiters. I asked some of these why they had decided so, and got very curt replies. It seemed most of them had made up their minds without considering the arguments on either side, and were unwilling or unable to subject them to analysis.
Was it Bernard Shaw who said you could not argue someone out of an opinion they had not been argued into ? I hope he was wrong. At any rate, showing the Remain flag in a very Brexit town seemed to encourage the committed, and might perhaps sway a few of the undecided.
We shall be operating a stall for the Remain campaign in Windsor Gardens, Seaton (opposite the Town Hall) during the morning of Saturday 11th June. While mostly manned by Labour members, some Green Party members will be participating, and much of the literature comes from other bodies – in particular, Britain Stronger in Europe (BSIE).
BSIE recently commisioned a group of artists to produce posters for the Remain movement. These can be downloaded and used freely (according to their facebook page) or purchased on good quality paper for £10 from the BSIE shop.
Some of them are striking presentations of the message. such as this one by Eva Rothschild. It catches the eye and drives home the message with a colourful and sophisticated design. However, undecided viewers may need more than this – and the BSIE collection provides two excellent examples.
Axel Scheffler’s poster makes one of the most powerful arguments for the Remain campaign amongst senior citizens – the effect on future generations. Many people are irritated by European bureaucracy and regret the loss of British influence and prosperity. Feeling insulated from the effects of Brexit, they have drifted into a Leave position as a protest vote. Pointing out that their children and grandchildren will suffer instead has produced at least one conversion to Remain in my personal experience.
Ewan Mitchill’s poster has a more subtle message. Predicting the future is impossible; but sophisticated techniques exist for making informed estimates of certain aspects – usually financial. The very great majority of such estimates support Remain; so the Brexit campaign dismiss them as mere guesses. An intelligent and thoughtful person might see through this strategy – helped by the poster.