June 24, 2016

Britain: Immigration covering up the costs of austerity

The Nation

Dawn Foster - For the left, the outcome will prompt much soul-searching. The Labour party could use this opportunity to shore up support and lead a progressive fight for the best possible trade and migration terms. Instead, several Labour MPs have put forward a motion to condemn Jeremy Corbyn, dredging up longstanding disgruntlement that has split the party since Corbyn’s surprising victory last year.   

....On the face of it, the vote was less about EU membership despite arguments couched vaguely around sovereignty, and more a referendum on immigration.

.... Many of the areas that voted to leave the EU actually have low migrant populations but share a sharp rise in poverty.

In a country racked by inequality, fear is easy to capitalize on. But as well as being afraid, people feel disenfranchised—and they are. Both Labour and the Conservatives have for decades withdrawn into themselves, creating a political class that is drawn predominantly from a homogeneous and elite tranche of society, wealthy and socially removed from the constituents they represent. Many politicians attended the same university, Oxford, and even studied the same course—Politics, Philosophy and Economics. The media is much the same. It’s easy then to believe the establishment is a stitch-up designed to perpetuate inequality and keep an eye out only for themselves.

This alienation, coupled with the opportunity to kick back at the establishment, led to a seismic vote to withdraw from the European project. For the left to win back lost voters, the root causes of this paranoia and ennui have to be addressed, and that requires a committed anti-austerity movement that can properly challenge the current consensus, rather than bow to it. But at this point, it might be too late to fully repair the wounds inflicted by years of economic deprivation, and the withdrawal from the EU that has now been triggered.

1 comment:

greg gerritt said...

Sounds a lot like what we are experiencing in the USA