Most of us saw the EU as the most expedient route to a more prosperous, peaceful world. Now, there's a chance to fight for a socialist futureby Robert Maisey / October 2, 2017 / Leave a comment
Which way to vote on June 23rd, 2016 was never in any question. We, the cosmopolitan children of the Great British middle class, approached the campaign in the surety that our values were everyone’s values (everyone worth knowing, anyway) and that the tides of history flowed decisively in our direction.
The guiding principles of the EU seemed good: international co-operation, freedom for personal and professional aspirations across borders and an apparently continent-wide rejection of the racist, homophobic, small town values that I’ve despised from my earliest childhood. My unquestioning liberalism was a source of pride, and any challenge to the basis upon which I’d voted was unworthy, and almost certainly a gateway to unsavoury thinking.
If anything, I thought, this pointless exercise in internal Tory Party (mis)management would be a valuable moral call-to-arms for the apathetic stragglers in the ongoing millennial awakening which the Corbyn project had invoked.
Needless to say, the UK’s knife edge decision to pull out of the European Union was an unwelcome shock. But rather than sending me spiralling off into the many stages of grief that seem, still, to afflict the wider business, media and political class, it caused me to ask a strange and alien question: what if I was wrong?
A united movement
It was already understood that, despite being loudly championed and funded by the most anarchic elements of the ruling class, the grassroots of the Leave vote was the left behind, taken for granted and ignored: a working class treated with contempt since the deliberate and calculated demolition of Britain’s industrial economy. If being a socialist meant fighting for the political and democratic enfranchisement of the working class, then either Brexit was wrong and I was no socialist, or I needed to scrutinise my hitherto unscrutinised pro-EU convictions.