Politics

Karl Marx

The earth has heaved and the landscape can never return to its previous contours. Maps must be redrawn and a new language for navigation established following the seismic results of the European elections. Today the world looks different across the continent, not just in Britain.

The stunning success of the Brexit Party here in the UK is clearly driven by a deep seated resentment at the shameless shenanigans of our political class over the last three years. However, this uniquely British problem alone does not explain the triumph of Le Pen's National Rally, Salvini's Lega or Kaczyński's Law and Justice party to name but a few.

There can be no denying it any longer. National identity, Euroscepticism and populism are on the rise across the continent in a way that transcends language, custom and cultural differences. Whilst Farage's Brexit Party shares some similarities with other Eurosceptic movements, there are also many differences between them. What binds them together in opposition to the centrist dominance of past decades is what Marxists would recognise as a growing sense of class consciousness.

It's so much bigger than just Brexit. Here in Britain, what began as a poorly defined sense of alienation has developed into a clear realisation that a large percentage of the population are viewed as little more than dangerously ignorant tax fodder by the established political class. As a result of this realisation, the Brexiteers' trust in political and cultural institutions has collapsed, to be replaced by an understanding that organisation and confrontation are the only viable methods to achieve their broader political and cultural goals.

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It should surprise nobody that our airwaves are abuzz with analyses of this week's local election results. With over 1,300 Conservative councillors suddenly separated from their expense accounts, it's inevitable that more than a couple of columnists have noticed that the Tories have returned their worst local election results since the rout of John Major in 1995. We all know what happened a couple of years later when New Labour swept all before them.

While this is a useful yardstick to measure the scale of the catastrophe, the simple arithmetic glosses over a deeper and more fundamental connection those two electoral nightmares. This is a case where superficial differences hide a deeper and more fundamental thread of continuity.

That thread is, of course, the European Union and Britain's perennially uneasy place inside it.

It's worth noting that Margaret Thatcher survived the miners' strike, the Falklands gamble and even the Poll Tax fiasco, but it was her steadfast opposition to the Maastricht Treaty and the creation of the European Union that finally galvanised her own party to wield the knife. Pundits can wax lyrical about Michael Heseltine's principled stance on the Westland issue, but it's no coincidence that he's now uttering his ermine-collared judgements on the horrors of Brexit from the safety of the upper chamber. That a senior frontbencher would knowingly weaken his own party in order to remove a major obstacle to European integration should tell you much about the true loyalties of the Tory grandees.

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Whisper it, but there's an alarming degree of similarity between the leaders of our two biggest political parties right now.

It's a matter of some conjecture as to whether this situation is pure happenstance, or the inevitable result of party machine politics backed by big donors and special interests. I've written extensively on how the dual pressures of Brexit specifically and rising populism generally have forced many special interests to finally show us their true colours. In some ways the results have been entirely predictable, although probably a lot worse than many of us would've liked to guess. Perhaps one of the biggest scandals emerging from this whole situation is the startling similarity between the two party leaders, who claim to be implacable enemies.

Jeremy Corbyn's distaste for the modern capitalist West is well documented, so there's no reason to regurgitate the rap sheet in this column. Suffice to say that whenever there's a conflict of interests, his gut instincts always align with those who wish to do his native country harm. Support for a controversial cause like Irish republicanism could be excused as principled if it were a one-off, but when it's part of a decades-old pattern of behaviour, we must conclude that some overarching world view is informing Corbyn's thinking. In short, the leader of Her Majesty's Opposition believes that 21st-century Britain is somehow an enemy of freedom and a threat to the rest of the world.

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With Theresa May's disastrous Brexit deal set for a second historic drubbing in the House of Commons, the commentariat have been thrown into a frenzy of shrieking speculation. Tales of no deal, no Brexit, no divorce bill and no fresh fruit have reached a fever pitch as our political prognosticators share their sage insight as to what will happen next.

With all this noise and fog surrounding tomorrow, a large slice of the political class and their media buddies have completely forgotten yesterday's lesson. They seem to have lost sight of exactly how this huge snowball of unanticipated yet wholly predictable events ever got rolling in the first place. They ignore history at their peril.

It was none other than David Cameron who pushed the rock down the mountain back in January 2013, and what's more he did it all for party political reasons. Prior to Cameron's fateful decision to call the Brexit referendum, dissatisfaction with the European project had been growing for years, gnawing steadily at the Tory heartlands and eventually manifesting as an existential threat from Nigel Farage's UKIP.

Just like a toothache, Cameron knew the Europe issue would only get worse if he ignored it; so he took the bold decision to shoot the UKIP fox once and for all before it could raid any more Tory chicken coops. In doing so he set off a political tsunami which has swept us into these uncharted constitutional waters.

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All in all, Britain's economy has confounded the professional doom-sayers since the 2016 referendum. Unemployment is down and business confidence is steady, no doubt buoyed up by the boom in the hyperbole sector as the commentariat's hysteria factories run hot night and day. Never before have we seen such an avalanche of gloom and apocalyptic prognostication pouring forth from blogs, online pundits and the mainstream media's digitised platforms.

Of course we all know that blood-curdling clickbait is part and parcel of life in cyberspace, and as such we shouldn't take it too seriously.

However, this time I think they could be right. We could be witnessing the end of the Conservative Party if things don't change, radically and fast.

Theresa May's pathological drive to shackle this nation to the bloated, unpopular and dysfunctional European Union at any cost has driven her to the point of political insanity. Quite literally. Rather than listen to the membership, the voters, the Parliamentary party or even her own Cabinet and respect the referendum result, she has instead embarked on a course deliberately designed to ensure the UK can never escape the legal dominance of the European Union.

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The Eurozone is sliding into recession, again. France is on fire, again. Italy is in open revolt and nationalist populism is rapidly gaining ground across the entire Western world. We cower behind concrete as we wait for the inevitable Islamist attack while apologists for religious genocide walk among us unchallenged, and in many cases proactively protected by the establishment. In response to these crises of their own creation, our democratically elected governments conspire to stifle free speech and police unfashionable opinions in the name of security; the oldest Faustian bargain known to civic society.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. We were promised that a post-national world would usher in greater peace, prosperity and security for all. Instead we are reaping the bitter harvest of fragmentation and frustration first sowed by the post-Cold War consensus of neo-liberalism. A consensus which was foolproof, evidence-based and unassailable…right up until the moment it was properly tested in the real world.

To put it another way, our political, academic and media elites held certain truths to be self-evident without really thinking them through. Or even worse, they did think them through and pressed ahead anyway, knowing that the real-world burden of their lofty aspirations would be borne by those least able to resist a post-national world they were never consulted about. That idea may sound a bit like a conspiracy theory, but it would help to explain the otherwise mystifying decades of hostility and organised vilification of all who dared to question whether borderless travel, mass migration, national outsourcing and state-sponsored multiculturalism are in fact unalloyed benefits. After all, if the establishment was so confident in the robustness of its ideas, why would it actively seek to destroy those who questioned the established orthodoxy?

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