Brexit: a vote to ‘take back control’, a vote against the effects of ‘austerity’?

A win at the polls but a loss in every other sense.

What a weird world we live in. Before the EU Referendum took place, my prediction was that a Brexit win would create chaos and that chaos would provide a license for the Tories to usher in a wave of ideologically driven politics that would double down on what they had been forcing through under the banner of ‘austerity’, supposedly in response to the recession. Tax cuts for the wealthy and public spending cuts (sort of); the much talked about but grossly misunderstood Tory ‘Long term economic plan’.

Of course, when the Tories talk of public spending cuts, they mean money spent on the public, they don’t mean cutting spending by the public. A base ideological goal of the Tories (and neoliberalism in general) is to view taxpayer spending as wholesale transfer of wealth. As with the likely eventual £300billion spend on a Trident replacement, the trick of Tory doctrine is to gather as much money from the majority of people (the 99%) and spend it in ways that returns as much of it to the minority (the 1%) as possible. The 1% then ferret that money out and away from the economy, offshore. The obvious side effect of this daylight robbery is that the economy becomes anemic, growth is hampered, and the 99% become poorer and poorer as there is less and less money in the economy. Since ‘austerity’ began, the wealthiest in society have doubled their wealth, while the rest of us have been “living within our means” at the expense of a massive increase in personal debt and increasingly poorer living standards and conditions. All part of the Tory ‘Long term economic plan’.

We have voted to Brexit but we are not Brexiting. We have not declared Article 50. We have not begun negotiations to leave the EU. We may never actually leave the EU. We are living in a time of huge uncertainty and chaos and the Tories, most particularly the neoliberal zombies, are calculating just how they can exploit the circumstances to continue their ‘Long term economic plan’. We have not taken back control and if May were to call a snap general election for the autumn, the Tories would run on a ticket of ‘continuity’ in our troubled times. Sad to say, a Labour party not led by Corbyn would likely also run on a ‘continuity’ ticket, for fear of being portrayed as offering instability. Continuity offered by those not already in power is not continuity and no one would vote for it. A Smith led Labour would offer Tory-lite which, as the LibDems discovered in 2015, the public will not vote for.

But we are standing on the precipice of Brexit, we are suffering the ill winds of having voted Brexit, we will pay the price of Brexit, we will suffer for Brexit, but we’ll likely not get Brexit. It’s a bit like those times when you are driving along the motorway and traffic begins to bunch up and slow to a crawl. You inch along for miles and then, all of a sudden, the traffic just begins to pick back up to normal speed, without any sign of any reason for the delay. For as long as the Tories are in power or for as long as neoliberals are calling the tunes, the 99% will suffer for no tangible reward, THAT is the Tory ‘Long term economic plan’.

(Originally written 25/07/2016)

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