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21 Aug, 2018 16:02

Brexit now holds Britain in a headlock – George Galloway

Brexit now holds Britain in a headlock – George Galloway

Brexit brew hasn't stopped simmering and will flavour British politics for many years to come.

The defeat for the British establishment in the Brexit referendum was as unexpected (by them) as it was momentous. A rag-bag army of Brexit campaigners with a distinctly unusual Officer class triumphed over the sleek Rolls Royce Brigade of Guards commanded by the entire spectrum of the great and the good.

I was one of the rag-bag army, but more as a guerrilla fighter, often behind enemy lines. I had to be allowed freedom of action because nobody expected me to take orders from the likes of Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Liam Fox – and though in touch throughout with the likes of Nigel Farage and his group, we each knew we were better not together. Our view of a post-Brexit Britain was just too different.

All the living ex-Prime Ministers posing for the Remain side photographers was the moment I knew we would win. With a remarkable lack of self-awareness, the British ruling class didn't realise that the referendum was as much about them as it was about the EU. Or that the people hated the political class with a vengeance, and that revenge was at hand.

It was a revolt against austerity, years of falling living standards for the workers and the unemployed and under-employed.

Post-industrial dereliction in huge swathes of the country, alienation in the towns and coastal communities, a suspicion hardening into certainty that those moving for the EU did so not out of love but out of interest. An interest necessarily unshared.

The decades of EU subversion of institutions like the media, the universities, even the trade unions through the copious carriages of the gravy train was more than sufficient to manufacture the consent of the elite and their comprador in times less stressful. But in the great stress-test of a referendum, it was bound to derail, hit the buffers. There just wasn't enough gravy to go round.

Adding injury to insult, the so-called freedom of movement of often cheap Eastern European labour into a depressed British labour market – deregulated, scantily organised, de-skilled, insecure, atomized – was being hailed by the very elite who benefitted from it as some kind of "progressive internationalism" and that those crying foul over it were just "racist".

This despite the fact EU immigration was overwhelmingly white and the first and worst affected by it were disproportionately black British people with origins in the Commonwealth. This stretched as far as me, by the way!

After a whole life in the anti-imperialist cause and as the father of two Arab and two Indonesian children, I too had apparently become a racist by backing Leave.

But all this backfired as we now know. The rulers, the experts, the rich, and the powerful were undone by the peasants' revolt of 2016. And they can scarcely conceal their rage, which hasn't cooled but heated up as the departure hour heaves into clear view.

Brexit now holds Britain in a headlock. The ruling elite can't count on their own party, the Conservatives, to serve their interests and scupper Brexit altogether or at least blunt its impact by cobbling together a compromise solution.

This because upwards of a hundred Tory MPs cannot or will not defy the Tory rank and file which remains bristlingly anti-EU.

Neither can the rulers seek solace as once they would in a house-trained Labour Party.

Under new management, Labour will not save their bacon.

Apart from their decades of Euro-skepticism, the Labour leaders are not stupid. Millions of Labour voters – perhaps 5 million – voted for Brexit. Nearly 70 percent of Labour-held parliamentary seats voted Brexit.

And though upwards of a hundred Labour MPs are itching for a variety of reasons to betray their leadership, their numbers so match Brexit hardliners on the other side as to render their own rebellion otiose. And their own careers, too.

Thus the richest people in Britain, all of finance capital, most of what remains of industrial capital, big farming interests, the civil service, the BBC, most of the media class, the deep state, are in a state of stasis. And all they can do is fume. Stew.

Their plan for a second referendum has foundered on jagged rocks. They would more likely than not lose it again.

Even if they somehow rigged up a narrow reversal, they would face as Barry Gardiner, a weather-vane member of the Labour shadow cabinet, this week warned, "within weeks" the largest surge in right-wing strength ever seen in Britain. Social peace in the country would be at greater risk than for centuries. The system itself could be existentially challenged.

Labour will not support a second referendum and neither will a huge section of the Tory Party.

They cannot go forward, they daren't go back. The British ruling class is up the creek without a paddle. This is their Darkest Hour.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.