Suzanne Moore writes:
I don’t know how many more people are going to lecture me to vote for the status quo.
Remain is humane. Morally superior. All else is Farageland, old-fashioned, implicitly racist, desperately uncosmopolitan.
Europe is a dream of weekends in Warsaw, festivals in Barcelona and stags in Amsterdam. It’s about being free and modern and connected. Mostly by cheap flights.
What sort of person would want to not co-operate with this?
Quite a lot of us actually, because the dream of Europe is not the reality – is not the EU, although these terms are often used interchangeably – and because all kinds of people are being totally excluded from this debate.
Lots of people say, vaguely, that they love Europe, that they feel European, and talk as though the EU is some sort of benign, almost charitable organisation.
The EU is an organisation of free trade. It exists to deliver the neoliberal capitalism I thought the left was not so keen on. Sure, make the argument that free trade is a way of maintaining peace, but this is not some humanitarian NGO.
It is run by , former leader of Luxembourg, Europe’s biggest tax haven. Mario Dragi, a former CEO of Goldman Sachs, runs the European Central Bank, while Donald Tusk, a former rightwing prime minister of Poland, is president of the European Council. heads up the most influential nation within it.
The Eurozone is also in crisis. If we vote to leave the EU, the whole thing could implode.
A series of countries have borne the brunt of its polices, not just Greece, but Portugal, Ireland and Spain, too.
The workers’ rights that the EU is said to protect? Tell that to the countries with long-term youth unemployment. Does the EU redistribute wealth? To the bankers, yes.
We know who suffers both here and on the continent: the poorest people. Who right now is speaking up for them?
I am not surprised that between those who will vote remain and those who will vote leave.
Those who feel disenfranchised economically by wages being driven down have lost faith in the ability of the political class to represent them.
The response of this political class – to label everyone else racist – is a zero-sum game.
Many will vote to leave as a way of sticking two fingers up, but watching those who benefit from globalisation lecture those who have lost out from it is unedifying to say the least.
The country is split and will remain split.
Where there was an opportunity for the left to engage, there has been abdication of responsibility, a Corbynite lethargy.
The rightwing populism of Nigel Farage, and indeed Donald Trump, is about neoliberalism’s internal limitations.
The assertion that the free market is not God after all, the attempt to put brakes on the free movement of labour at the expense of capital is scary when in the hands of such men, but the left should surely be making the most of these contradictory impulses.
Instead, we simply have two sets of rightwing men shouting at each other.
Some women are to be wheeled on late in the day to argue with , for which we are to feel gratitude, apparently.
Every discussion of the referendum assumes that a Labour government is an impossibility, so the left case for Brexit is a nonstarter.
Instead, hope must be invested in “young people”, who it is assumed all think the same thing and go to Glastonbury.
So, we are told both that this is a hugely important vote and that one must vote with head not heart, as though we have already lost.
Somehow the EU will be reformed. We just don’t know how.
But surely once the leave camp feels its strength, it will keep pushing? This matter won’t be settled.
The complete lack of credibility among the main players (Cameron, Corbyn and Johnson may all be arguing the opposite case to the ones closest to their hearts and histories) is ridiculous.
The public senses this but, again, we keep being told what this is really all about is immigration, the democratic deficit or sovereignty.
Or “I’d like to teach the world to sing” Eurovision.
Maybe it’s about all those things.
Meanwhile, the complete loss of nerve by the left means that the low paid, the bottom 10%, are deemed worthy of sacrifice for some greater good.
I share this loss of nerve because of the company I would be in: the apocalypse of Borisconi.
But I sense that, for many, a strange game is being played out whereby voting leave is not seen as such an enormous gamble.
Much of England is ready to roll that dice; this part of England, so often despised, demonised and disrespected by those who claim to represent it, does need to be spoken for.
This England will not do as it is told. This England may not be London and may not be subsumed into the fantasy of Great Britain, whichever side is selling it.
When government, opposition and businesses are speaking with one voice, many feel there is not much of an actual choice on offer here.