Guest post pt 2: understanding Labour heartlands, winning back UKIP vote

In a follow-up to his first hard-hitting guest post, South Yorkshire teacher, Labour voter and trade union activist Andy Searson moves from analysis of the working-class Brexit vote and why New Labour lost the working class to what Labour as a radical movement needs to do to reconnect with those communities and win back votes that New Labour’s approach had driven toward UKIP.

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‘A drought of hope’

The Labour heartlands sent a very clear message in the EU referendum: we demand change.

Not mere tinkering or tweaking but real, tangible change. Those heartlands saw that the system, both economic and political, was not working in the interests of their people, the working class. That is not just the politics of the Tories, Lib Dem/Tory pact and their austerity, but also New Labour.

All the aforementioned bought into the neoliberal, trickle-down economic model. Well there was no trickle down, not even a tiny drip, drip. The masses were left in a drought of hope. A desert in which the British promise that every new generation should be better off than the one before disappeared like a mirage.

All the gains that were bequeathed to us from our great-grandparents’ and grandparents’ generations were slowly but surely taken from us one by one. Some openly such as the utilities, railways, Royal Mail, our telecoms industry were amongst the best known -imagine what riches a state owned telecoms industry would have brought into the Treasury coffers as the digital age exploded just a few years after Thatcher’s sell off.

Others were done by stealth, such as social care and our NHS. North Sea oil revenues were used to fund the dole queues as Thatcher and her Tories went to war on Britain’s magnificent manufacturing and coal industries – the same industries that had fuelled and enabled the Industrial Revolution and helped put the Great into Great Britain.

A crumbling bedrock

The working class communities that powered those industries were the bedrock and foundation of Great Britain and they were proud to be so. When the time came millions joined the call to arms and fell on the battlefields of Europe while their women rallied to the cause and filled their menfolks’ places in the steelworks and other workplaces to keep the wheels on industry turning.

My grand parents were such people. They also elected the Attlee Labour government to change Britain in favour of the many and not the few. This is the background against which working class people over 35 were born. A proud sense of your community history and your family’s place in the history of Great Britain.

But as the industries in these heartlands began to disappear one by one, so too did the people’s belief that the political elite could change their fate. I lived through the miner’s strike of the 80s and the steel strikes. I remember clearly their slogans. Save Our Steel, Coal Not Dole. These weren’t greedy people. These were people who knew the price of defeat and the cost of defeat to their families and communities and how right they were!

As the steelworks and mines closed so did the wider manufacturing and supply chains. As the dole queues were rising so were the number of shops being boarded up as purse strings became tighter. A whole generation began to realise that they wouldn’t be inheriting the jobs at the steelworks, the mines or within the supply industries of those retiring miners, steelworkers and engineers. You suddenly realised your future had been snatched away from you.

As the years rolled on you realised that drugs were on the rise, cheap alcohol consumption was increasing as people began to self medicate through the despair. Crime soared and for some became the only visible career option. Community cohesion began to crumble as the solidarity brought about by the trades unions & communal workplaces were replaced with the day to day grind of survival.

New Labour walked away

The politicisation via the work place was gone and the politics of the centre became bland. No one was speaking for the Labour Heartlands any more. It was as if these regions weren’t needed any more!

As New Labour began a charm offensive on Tory voters they distanced themselves from the Trades Unions. In doing so they walked away from the working class who made up this movement. Then they began a love-in with big corporate sponsors and donors so the ordinary members who had built the party weren’t needed.

The final insult was the top-down restructuring and elitism of parachuting careerist politicians into ‘safe seats’ in the Labour heartlands. These people had no connection, no shared life experiences with the local people or even a connection to the local area. The disconnect had begun. It was like a cirrhosis eating away at the political voice and representation of the working classes.

When you visit these areas now you will often be met with disdain and a deeply-felt anger at the Labour Party. Many of these people feel betrayed. Their loyalty had not been reciprocated by the party for nearly forty years.

From the mid Eighties, when the people were rising, the Labour leadership walked away from the fight. On every occasion, from the steelworkers to the miners, from Liverpool city council to the Poll Tax – the Labour Party leadership settled for centrist appeasement and used each battle as an opportunity to hammer its own support.

In short, the Labour Party walked away from its working class roots and embraced its elitist, liberal right-wing. The years that followed sowed the seeds of its demise in Scotland and to some extent in its English and Welsh heartlands. To understand this, you have to have lived it.

Disenchantment and the rise, then fall, of UKIP

This disenchantment, as mentioned earlier,  was a result of nearly forty years of disappointment and frustration at having no political voice or authentic representation in Parliament. Let us not forget a large amount of these people had been activists in their communities and workplaces. They had been the beating heart of the Labour movement for generations. With a political mind and a latent willingness to engage in politics, where could they go? No party was listening. No party was speaking for them.

Then, along came UKIP. A populist party, willing to tackle the issues of the ‘left-behind communities.’ Plain-speaking and demonstrating a willingness to offer a voice for the disaffected. They played to the emotions of the working classes, especially the white working class in the industrial wastelands of northern England. They tapped into the sense of nationhood and camaraderie that are common to working class communities (relating back to the sense of pride in their shared history) and they also created and built a false feeling of being under attack (from immigration, multiculturalism and loss of sovereignty).

The Tories quickly moved right to avoid UKIP encroaching onto their xenophobic base but Labour were slow to act. They dismissed UKIP and failed to see their appeal to the working class. Their own liberal, detached view of working-class areas didn’t allow them the necessary insight into the attractiveness of UKIP’s offer.

Surprisingly, UKIP were allowed to set a narrative that Labour’s immigration policy under Blair and Brown (and recent Tory failures in this area) were to blame for the plight of those living in the Labour heartlands. All the social problems in these communities were blamed on immigration and especially the EU’s freedom of movement rules.

The Labour Party centrists, always with one eye on an opinion poll, ran away from the mere mention of immigration and failed to put forward a robust argument to shift the narrative onto UK government’s austerity programme.

This could easily have been proven to be  the cause of social breakdown but in the silence, UKIP prospered. They offered solutions – no matter that they were false – to everyday problems faced in the run down communities of the forgotten, voiceless working class. At last someone was going to solve the housing crisis, they were going to stop the waiting lists and overcrowded NHS, they promised an end to under cutting of wages, they were going to fix law and order, they represented a chance to return to having a stake in a Britain that was great again.

In short they offered hope that things could be made better for these areas. Many flocked to the UKIP cause mainly out of desperation to have a political voice. Then Brexit happened. I talked at length about why many in working class areas voted for Brexit in my first article, which you can read here.

Reconnecting and the rebirth of hope

I want to explore how we can reconnect with those Labour heartlands. The referendum delivered the decision to leave. Now UKIP were a spent force, Brexit had been achieved, we were leaving the EU. UKIP had no purpose now and subsequently cannibalised itself. What these working class people wanted now was a party who would deliver on the democratic will of those that voted to leave the EU.

In 2015 something incredible happened. Through their arrogance and ignorance, the right wing members of the PLP allowed Jeremy Corbyn onto the ballot paper for the leadership election. This demonstrated how ignorant they were in relation to the mood in the country and how arrogant they were that it would be a victory for business as usual.

This should have changed everything for the Labour heartlands. Suddenly, there was someone speaking honestly about austerity and the lie that this is how things have to be. Corbyn went on the attack, challenging and shining a light upon UKIP’s Big Lie.

It wasn’t your Polish neighbour or the Spanish nurse causing the issues but the Tory government’s austerity. It wasn’t the immigrant coming in search of a better life driving down wages, it was the employers and greedy businesses exploiting the rules that were to blame. It isn’t immigration putting our social care and NHS under stress it is chronic underfunding and privatisation.

The new Labour leader has smashed every argument that had been propagated during the previous years. That said, there is still a long way to go to stop the UKIP vote switching to Tories, who are seen as the party most likely to deliver Brexit. Why is this mistrust of Labour still there? To answer this question look no further than the small but vocal minority in the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP).

The people who were so badly let down over the last forty years want what is best for their children and grandchildren. They believed in and benefited from the British promise that every generation would be better off than the one before. For the first time in generations, this will not be true.

The only way to reverse this is a transformative Labour government. The 2017 manifesto was a start. It replaced UKIPs false promises with real, tangible policies that would solve Britain’s social ills. That said, to truly secure the Labour heartlands the party MUST ensure Brexit happens. A Brexit that will benefit the majority of ordinary working people.

Not an ‘Uberised’, Neo-Con hard Brexit but a common-sense withdrawal that ensures state intervention, nationalisation and provides a fair but rigorous immigration policy that meets the needs of our economy.  Only this will rebuild trust within the communities that have been left behind by New Labour.

We need to reconnect the people in these Labour heartlands to their proud history and past battles within the Labour movement. We need to remind them of how our forbears dreamed of a better future for us in 1945, all the struggles that they fought to deliver the NHS and the safety net of the welfare state.

We need to shout from the rooftops the message that Labour is under new management. We now have a leadership team who will work tirelessly in the interests of our working-class communities. There will be no more betrayals like the Kinnock or Blair years.

Saboteurs and dreamers

Regardless of the dying throes of the New Labour die-hard saboteurs in the PLP,  Labour will honour the Brexit vote and will use Brexit to work tirelessly to rebuild the 1945 covenant between the party and the British people.

To do so we need those voices from the past, the miners, the steelworkers, those brave strong women who fed their villages in the Women Against Pit Closures groups to speak up. Re-engage with these people who can tell the younger generations about our history, the need to come together and rebuild what the Tories have taken from us.

Yes, we were the dreamers, but together we ALL can become the builders again. Let us face the future as we did in 1945. Let us unite, be fearless, be proud and create the Britain and future that our children and grandchildren deserve.

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  1. Sounds like a good way of alienating 63% of Labour voters along with the majority of young voters.

    1. For instance a significant number of the older generation that voted for Brexit are no longer with us.

      1. And it’s no coincidence that older generations are much more likely to read a daily newspaper than younger generations AND that four times as many people read newspapers that were (and are) pro-brexit as those that read newspapers that were (and are) pro-remain.

    2. Time to start organising the next referendum, the one following the next one that is. This is great because situations always change and we will always have reasons to call for further referendums (a?). This o me could run and run. Marvellous! Best wishes to all.

  2. You have not considered change of opinion. Majority of people want to stay in EU. Also the points in manifesto can be achieved whilst being in the EU.
    I cannot understand why you want to stick with a ‘decision’ that was reached through lies and falsification, when it becomes more evident that brexit is really not a good idea. To me it feels like shooting yourself in the foot, despite knowing that this will lead to injury….. But then again I am a mere foreigner………

    1. Can you provide a reference to the data that shows people wanting to stay in Europe? I’m fairly sure it’s the other way around actually. People respect the democratic will of the people, even if they don’t like the result. The “second referendum” idea didn’t seem to work very well for the Greens or the Lib Dems in the GE. I think people see it as an insult.

      1. Asking for data from someone you disagree with – while not providing data to support your own contention is…

        Answers on a postcard please.

  3. I agree with the content of this essay. What puzzles me is why given the arrival of a leader who speaks honestly, why is Labour still so far behind I the polls, and why are there still so many party members who say Jeremy has good idas, but cannot , and will not led the party into government?

    t of supportive team

    1. heavitreeman. You ask “why are there still so many party members who say Jeremy has good ideas, but cannot, and will not lead the party into government?”. Can you substantiate that please – ie where did you get said information from?

      And how far behind in the polls are Labour exactly?

      And what puzzles me – not that the LP is that far behind in the polls as far as I am aware – is that YOU are puzzled, or have you somehow missed all the ongoing vilification and demonisation and smears and dirty tricks directed at JC and the left in general since he became leader?

  4. This is yet another example of throwing a pseudo analytical argument at a situation and coming up with a totally irrelevant conclusion.

    The ‘working class’ is not such a homogeneous group as it once was and there are many within it, in greater numbers now, who are prepared to vote in different ways to those once predicted. The right wing media, who supported ‘leave’ are fully aware of this and exploited it mercilessly.

    What the ‘leave’ campaign did was successfully use the Goering argument: ‘convince people they have a problem and tell them you have the solution’. The right wing media enforced that message incessantly and unfortunately a majority believed it. This was further compounded by exploiting the Goebbels’ maxim, “A lie told once remains a lie but a lie told a thousand times becomes a truth”.

    There is no great mystery in how the ‘leave’ campaign won. By harnessing the influence exerted by the right wing media, rather than using fact based arguments, they exploited the frailties and fears which are still present in human nature and convinced enough people to tip the balance in favour of the EU being an enemy.

    To start talking in Churchilian terms about the workers standing together and proud histories etc., is bordering on the jingoistic but those days are gone for ever and the only way we can turn things around is by combating emotion with logic and build a case and a society based upon all round fairness.

    This is by far the worst statement in the article and an indication of complete lack of understanding of the results of Brexit:

    “That said, to truly secure the Labour heartlands the party MUST ensure Brexit happens. A Brexit that will benefit the majority of ordinary working people”

    If there is anything which will NOT benefit ‘ordinary working people’, it is Brexit in any form and when Labour is in government if it doesn’t at least combat a hard Brexit if introduced, we will suffer the backlash.

    1. Jack, a well thought out argument. Didn’t the right mobilise just as effectively and viciously for the GE and the local council elections. Labour’s vote increase? Regards.

      1. Correct, the RW did mobilise their media as they always do but because of broadcast regulations Jeremy Corbyn had much more exposure than normal and was able to put Labour’s case more effectively. Having said that, just as in the referendum, the GE was a close call and we didn’t win.

        Again we were hampered by the RW but mainly in our own Party who used the referendum to try and undermine JC – just as they are doing now, only before, it was to ‘leave’ whereas now it is to ‘remain’. This just illustrates how the only ‘principle’ of the Labour right is to be on the opposite side to Jeremy in almost any situation.

        We could however turn the tables on them by leaving all options on the table, including giving the people the democratic freedom to change their minds. After all, as has been said recently, you can’t undermine democracy with democracy.

      2. And one can only wonder what the results WOULD have been absent the constant barrage of black propaganda concocted and designed to smear JC and Momentum etc.

    2. I think you reinforce the points made in both articles nicely Jack. Thank you.

    3. The reality is that the majority of people have their opinions formed about any particular issue by platitudes, and probably the biggest and most mendacious dissembled by the Leave campaign was “take back control”, and similar such jargon. As if to say, on the one hand, that we had somehow lost control of our own affairs, and on the other hand, that the political and corporate elite in Britain were going to bring about a Utopia if we left the EU. Within those three words so much is being conveyed (to millions of people), and yet all of it is inherently false. But then again, as Jack points out, if you were indoctrinated with lies and fabrication about the EU by the right-wing press/media over a period of years, you would no doubt lap up such a platitude.

      Deceit and deception and (emotional) manipulation are the name of the game, and in the final analysis it doesn’t make much difference whether we’re in or out, as the fascists will continue to control whatever the case and, via the fascist controlled media, denigrate and vilify and demonise anyone, or any body of people, that threatens their power and control, or the wealth of themselves and their ‘shareholders’.

      1. Just came across this in an article in The Guardian:

        For some change is disastrous. It is an outrage, for example, that Asda and Morrisons are refusing to stock the New European on the grounds of its anti-Brexit stance. Launched in nine days after the EU referendum, the weekly campaigning paper – with an average circulation of 22,000 – has won several awards since launching in June 2016. The editorial and management has made no secret of its pro-Remain stance. Indeed, its raison d’etre has been to redress the imbalance in the national media. Newspapers supporting Brexit ARE READ BY FOUR TIMES AS MANY as those supporting the status quo [my emphasis]. So why, if both supermarkets sell pro-Brexit papers, have they told the New European’s distribution team their “stores do not want to be seen to take a political stance”?

        Editor Matt Kelly has accused the retailers of “damaging media plurality” in the UK. And given the importance of supermarket sales to print newspapers, he is 100% right.


      2. ‘Take back control’ is a clever slogan as was Trump’s ‘make America great again’.

        Regular repetition works and we have to recognise this. And so we have to repeat our slogans too.

        Here is one that I just thought up:

        ‘Boris Johnson: For the few not the many’.

    4. I suspect you’re right, Jack, but as I found it impossible to get past the first chapter of this second volume I’m unable to confirm.

    5. Allan Howard “The reality is that the majority of people have their opinions formed about any particular issue by platitudes”

      This is patronising and a construct of your own imagination. What is your evidence for this claim?

      People form their opinions from a lifetime’s accumulation of memories; incidents; personal and professional relationships and experiences.

      Their experiences, not yours.

      Fervent pro remainers need to acquaint themselves with this basic psychology and sociology

      1. It is NOT patronising in the slightest, and if you want to deny reality, then so be it. I gave a perfect example of such a platitude, but YOU conveniently decided to just ignore it. Hitler and Goebbels ran Nazi Germany by means of propaganda (and fear, aimed at those who saw through it all), and one of Hitler’s most famous sayings is the following:

        “But the most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly and with unflagging attention. It must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.”

        And in the same vein:

        “The receptivity of the masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous. In consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogans until the last member of the public understands what you want him to understand by your slogan.”

        Another, quite recent example of this, was Theresa May and Co repeating endlessly that Putin was responsible for poisoning the Skripals. AND they lied about Novichok only being manufactured in Russia, and it’s no coincidence of course that the same thing was being repeated endlessly in relation to polonium in the Litvinenko saga. Yet again, another Big Lie.


    6. Andy Searson does not acknowledge the decades of drip, drip, drip by the corporate media. Largely owned by tax-haven based billionaires hypocritically & arrogantly lecturing us on patriotism. More to the point, taking every opportunity to blame the undoubted suffering of many on immigrants and the EU rather than on Tory austerity. The same corporate media (and I include the Guardian & the Biased Broadcasting Corporation) relentlessly smear Corbyn and give UKIP a sympathetic ear. How many times has the BBC given Farage air-time yet UKIP has not a single MP. The BBC degrades our democracy yet we pay for it! The same corporate media persuaded US workers to vote for Trump. My internationalism says Remain & Reform the EU but, most important, democratise our media!

  5. I am from County Durham and for years I have offered one simple example of why the working class people in that area feel ignored by and alienated from Labour Party. There are other more complex reasons of course but this one I feel rather neatly llustrates the disastourous relationship that Labour centrists themselves have cultivated with what was one part of the Labour Party’s bedrock support.

    The Durham Miners Gala is a festival that is still of imense significance to working class communities throughout Durham and it is still annually attended by tens of thousands of people. Throughout its 134 year history it had been regularly attended by sucessive leaders of the Labour Party and more especially so when those leaders held the post of Prime Minister – and was “their” Prime Minister. For many years the attendance of other key figures representing the Labour Party as well as leaders from across the Trade Union movement as a whole was considered to be an absolute must .

    This great tradition was however shattered by Tony Blair who despite representing an old Durham mining constituancy himself never once attend the Gala when he was Prime Minister. After years of ignoring the very people who had supported and elected him in to office it became abundantly clear that Blair would rather die than to be seen standing alongside the working class people of County Durham at the Gala.

    One year Blair even infamously chose to go to the British Grand Prix with millionaire Bernie Eccleston rather than the Gala. A similar policy of non attendance was also followed by Gordon Brown as well as a gaggle of lesser Labour Party centrist “leaders”.

    How do you imagine people in this Labour Party “heartland” felt about these continued snubs? You will forgive me if I put it bluntly and tell you that they felt as if they were being treated like a “set of bloody mugs” who were just voting fodder in the eyes of Labour Party centrists and who voted Labour because they didn’t have any other choice.

    The Sunderland (traditionally in the old County of Durham) vote during the EU referendum was the first of many shocks from around the UK that illustrated how Labour had managed to disillusion many of its suppoters simply by not engaging with them. Labour might pursue the middle class vote but there was no guarantee that working people would stay with them.

    I am pleased to say that both Ed Milliband and Jeremy Corbyn have recognised the significance that the Gala still has for many ordinary people in Durham. They have both attended as the Leader of the Labour Party and have be welcomed as such. On the other hand Blair has been told that folk would be happier if he kept to his old habit of staying well away.

    There is still a lot to do in order to restore people’s faith in the Party but having the leadership acknowlege them and treat them with a simple degree of respect would I feel go a long way.

    1. The thing is of course that Blair and Co (and his so-called New Labour) were in effect Tories who highjacked the Labour Party. Along with a great deal of help from the fascist controlled media.

    2. Albert, I agree with your assessment of the disregard New Labour appeared to have for its core supporters and this probably allowed UKIP to take advantage of the dissatisfaction and set up a power base in the North East.

      I am from Merseyside and it’s no coincidence that because we have outlawed the Sun and to a certain extent the Mail, those rags were unable to exert their malign influence. This resulted in a vote here which was diametrically opposite to the national average i.e. 58% for remain and 42% for leave.

      1. Jack, the reason for the Liverpool vote may be as you state but does it explain why Manchester voted 60% to remain and 40% to leave? Not to mention the London and Scottish results, albeit there may have been an additional reason for much of the remain vote in Scotland, ie SNP supporters.

      2. The Conservative Home website wrote a number of articles to explain why they did so badly at the last election.

        One example was that, in Wirral West, they had quotes from the Sun.

    3. Good work Albert. I didn’t know about the Ecclestone affair, thanks.

  6. Another excellent guest article from this writer, which resonates totally if you have lived through the times that Andy Searson describes so well. Pseudo analytical it is not.

    Argument which says that the proud histories of the days of workers standing together have gone, misses the point completely. They have not gone, and as Andy sets out clearly, they are needed now as much as they were a hundred years ago.

    Standing together brought about the ability of men and women to vote and to have a say in the government of day to day lives. It brought about the ability to have a say in creating a society based on all round fairness. To gain an important and extremely useful background to how and why it mattered – and still matters politically more than ever – take a look at a recent book by Chris Renwick ‘Bread For All, The Origins of the Welfare State’, which covers far more context relevant to this debate than a first reading of the title may suggest.

    The right wing media is no different now to a hundred years ago, funded by the rich for the rich. Propaganda has been alive and well and very successful for thousands of years – literally. Methods of communicating that propaganda have changed, but not that propaganda is used as a very effective tool.

    Assuming that all who voted for Brexit are those who cannot think outside of that propaganda and who do not understand fact based argument, is simplistic. it illustrates well why many people are surprised at the Brexit vote. The derision that all too often accompanies such assumptions shows a lack of understanding of, or maybe a lack of experience of, all of the fact based arguments which underlie and support the article.

    The Tories can and will use Brexit for their continuation of their strangling the life out of those that they can at any cost, to ensure the equilibrium of the rich and the future of profit before people continues for ever. For all of the reasons given in the article, this will not change with them in power, or with the Liberals or with New Labour or with any combination of them all. The accidental placement of Jeremy Corbyn becoming Leader of the Labour party together with his understanding of why standing together matters, is fundamental to any substantive change in this current rhetoric.

    For or against Brexit, it is the time to stand with Jeremy Corbyn and allow the leadership the scope to develop the best ways of dealing with the change.

    1. I don’t think anyone is saying that EVERYONE who voted for Brexit was duped by all the anti-EU propaganda, but the fact is that the majority WERE. And what difference does it make that it’s been around for thousands of years…….if it wasn’t effective, the PTB wouldn’t utilise it for their own ends. As Malcolm X said:

      “The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”

      Ken Livingstone and Kelvin Hopkins are just two that come to mind, and but for the ongoing smear campaign and black propaganda dirty tricks against JC and the left, he would no doubt be PM now and transforming the country for the benefit of the many.

      I of course agree with your sentiments in general.

  7. Yes and the Blairites took working class communities for granted and neglected them leaving a vacuum but when some talk about taking back control what actually is ours in the UK – water, mail, rail, public utilities, the land – you probably can’t go 20 miles in a straight line in your own country without coming across ‘Keep Out! Private Property!’
    So perhaps we take back control with Labour by the democratic public ownership of these industries as well as looking at the land issue.
    But not like the old nationalised industries with the same bosses in control and distant plus top down, this time we should give staff and communities a genuine say, so people actually feel they are ours – it was easy for Thatcher to privatise.
    Thatcher also used our North Sea Oil politically to smash unions and herald in the Neo-Liberal era of Finance Capital and CHEAP LABOUR.
    Compare this with Norway which spends its oil money on its citizens and has a trillion dollar plus Wealth Fund!
    It’s time for working people with Labour TO TAKE BACK CONTROL FROM TORY NEO-LIBERALISM!

  8. These two articles were great and coming from a working class background it registers with me completely, I have been there.
    It took 20 years for Neo-Liberalism to capture the Tories with Thatcherism then the bonus prize was New Labour in England and Wales then Scottish Labour then the EC.
    The EC had originally been set up by social democrats – accepting capitalism but extracting crumbs for working people.
    There were always two potential strategies for building a left wing democratic socialist society in the UK and Europe; firstly via our partners in EC countries including trade unions or secondly via independent progressive nation states co-operating.
    I reluctantly voted Remain in the hope we could end Neo-Liberalism internationally but Brexit won and you have to accept the decision, it now has to be option 2.
    But with job offers needed for migrant workers we would control labour supply (I would argue we should also control capital supply – countries controlled both of these before Neo-Liberalism), bring back migration adjustment funds for councils (brought in by Labour and cut by the Tories/Lib Dems) and thirdly I would argue we should try to trade unionise migrant workers so they cannot be used by unscrupulous employers to undercut wages (this would also help to build community solidarity).
    The problem with Remainers (apart from not accepting democracy) is that they support a social democratic model of the EC that WAS but Neo-Liberal is what the EC IS! It’s simple now if you insist on remaining and accepting the 4 Neo-Liberal ‘Freedoms’ then you accept Neo-Liberalism and crumbs for diverse working people when we should be transforming our society as a example to the World.

  9. Oh and with state-led public investment, invest in the decimated regions!!!!!!

  10. A lot of supporters for remaining in the EU seem to imply that they know best and that everybody who voted to leave was duped.

    I voted remain because I did not want to engage in this futile debate which is a total distraction from what the Tories are doing to our infrastructure and NHS.

    The Tories will happily string people along playing ping pong with their Neo-Liberal counterparts, because it diverts attention away from their activities of dismantling the state. By the time everyone has woken up to this, they will have kicked the can far enough down the road to have completed their task here, and no their neo-liberal counterparts are doing the same thing in their countries for exactly the same reasons.

    We have recently witnessed riots in the streets of France, Italy is moving right and ousted the Prime minister in place of what is described as a populist new Prime Minister, only the President is not quite playing the game and won’t call another election just yet – we also witnessed how the EU treated Greece, when Mario Draghi the Chair of the ECB is happy to bail Europe’s corrupt banks but refuses to support the Greek people – after admitting to a Swedish journalist at a press conference, the ECB (European Central Bank), can never run out of money.

    With all the regulations in Europe working in favour of big corporations, creating the turmoil we now see on Europe’s streets, why are the remainers so adamant on staying inside the EU? Where is all this evidence to prove their case?

    Anyone who has looked up Europe’s own statistics on Eurostat, can see the trade imbalances and data that proves Europe is not working for themselves, or are they just happy to go along with what they feel comfortable with whether it is right or wrong?

    I have lived and worked in Germany in 1968/9, there were over two and a half million jobs for every applicant at that time, I don’t believe that is the same today although being the strongest manufacturing base in Europe.

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