May's Failure is Our Fault
Don't cast a clout
May is totally inadequate before the task of Brexit. This is true but I am getting tired of the Brexiteers eying lamp-posts and gathering piano wire.
Why? Because May is only the symptom of a much deeper illness and that disease is our fault and not hers.
Brexit is a revolution. Our adversaries know that. It is a revolution because it takes power from those who have it and gives it to those who did not. If it does not then Brexit is pointless. The forces of reaction know this but we seem shy of the purpose of our actions.
We expect May to know it and love it even when we ourselves do not know it. Brexit means Brexit, she says, but clearly she does not know what Brexit means. You have to accept this unless you believe the conspiracy theory that May does know what Brexit means and does know that this is a revolution - but is part of the devious plan to thwart it.
Why does she not know what Brexit means - beyond accepting that leaving the Common Market means not being in the Common Market ? Because no one is telling her what it means. Who is advancing the doctrine of Brexit? Who are the great priests of our ideology and where is their organisation on the streets? Do you not think it odd that there is virtually no organised and mobilised popular Brexit movement? Maybe you have not noticed the absence. In the old days there was CIB, Democracy Movement and so on. Where are their equivalents? There are pensioners clicking away in Facebook groups set up by don't know who. There are good pro-Brexit comentators such as Brexit Central, there is some club for Brexity MPs and Leave Means Leave grab a headline now and again - oh, and our own dear Bruges Group has only one part-time staff and a few volunteers - but where are the intellectuals (not bean counters with degrees) who are developing and promotoing the ideology of Brexit: who is saying what Brexit Britain will look like. When the people voted for "Take Back Control" they understood a hell of a lot more by it than whoever borrowed that old DM slogan. Did we vote to leave the EU just to have a deal with the EU? But "deal"` is all we have heard for a year and a half. Voters have a deep and profound feeling of why they voted Leave but are simply not hearing these ideas articulated.
The closest thing to a popular expression of the vision shared by (especially working class) Brexit voters is the slight mis-understanding by David Goodhart and his "Somewhere and Anywhere" idea which is a socialogical observation by a remainer rather than evangalism by a Brexiteer. This article in Calgacus
May never speaks of such things but how could she when neither do we? If Brexiteers cannot describe Brexit than how could that poor old woman who did not even vote Leave?
18 months after the referendum and barely a word has been spoken about our vision of how we live together, how we change, how we recover and how we revive life in Britain. Maybe some of the opportunists who made populist profit out of the complaint about the EU had no vision for the common good after we left. That would be why they quit the market place, quit before the job was done.
In this moment, the first since the Christchurch by-election, UKIP could play a pivotal role. But where is UKIP? After many attempts, UKIP has found its Admiral Doenitz. The great leader has run away to South America where he presents radio shows. Maybe that is harsh because if Henry Bolton can keep out the spivs and carpet-baggers that have dragged UKIP down over the years, the Opportunists that infest all revolutionary situations, UKIP could eventually fullfil its destiny. The original slogan of UKIP was "For a Free Britain in a Free World" but after Sked was ousted the party was left with commercial management of sorts but no intellectual leadership whatso ever and the slogan proved too difficult to understand. Now is the moment for UKIP to have an idea.
And May's delays may offer UKIP a remarkable opportunity. Although, Canute-like, HMG has attempted a law that says UK will quit the EU on some hour of some day, it very well may not be the case at all. At this rate, it is quite conceivable that UK will still be in the EU at the time of the next EP election. There are not supposed to be any more EP elections in Britain but what if there are? What if the delays continue? May seems to have no urgency about Brexit. "Lord give us Brexit - but not yet" is her almost Augustinian prayer. All kinds of mischief-makers will want Britain to participate. Today, it looks like UKIP could crush all others. Crikey, DUP could take English seats!
So how did we get here?
Although authentic anti-EU groups mobilised in the referendum campaign, neither the officially state-appointed campaign nor its competitor were actually run by activists at all. I am not doubting the genuineness of the commitment of individual MPs, even if they declared for Leave at the very last moment, but it was more like an adrvertising agency funded by wealthy enthusiasts and commissioned by the government than it was like a real, democratic representation of the people who were for Brexit. Activists even had to give out leaflets that bore little similarity with their own beliefs. Calgacus has published about this in another article. This article by Calgacus
This has meant that, once the electorate had stormed the Winter Palace of the referendum, there was no organised political power to enforce the will of the people. Unbelievably, bizarrely, the job is entrusted to a senior member of the forces of reaction - a remainer. She does not have a Brexit government but a "balanced" government. May does not seem to see the referendum as a final victory but as a ceasefire between Remain and Leave elements of her party. No wonder her cosmetic Brexit satisfies those who want to remain.
You know when you see reports of revolutions on the TV: they do certain things like get rid of the old ruler and his family, they seize control of the airport and TV station. We have done none of these things. You can tell who is really in control of a country not by which actors they use to sit around in the Museum of Democracy but by who controls the state media and the borders - and it's not us.
UKIP have been more part of the problem in their heyday than in their recent moribund state. There were fundamental probelms with UKIP that retarded the political effectiveness of the whole movement. These were forseen by The Bruges Group when Alan Sked told the others he would found a party . But Alan neither predicted nor intended the monster it would become. Although many who now confuse correlation with causation, UKIP was ineffective in its aim (which has still not been achieved) simply because mobilising as a party was teh wrong thing to do. Brexiteers were no longer organised as an aggressive swing vote rather it neutralised those votes who supported it who were then ignored by the competition of the main parties. UKIP took euroscepticism from being relatively an intellectual movement to being quite stupid. In that it could only ever manage about 16% of the vote its leaders realised they had to broaden out to be an all-purpose populist party of complaint. Born in the eurosceptic movement it grew away. The 16% worked as a business model that relied on the Brussels gravy train but repelled a greater number from euroscepticism to Remain. Meanwhile it swallowed up human and financial resources that could have been used by an authentic conventional anti-EU movement. Now, when it is needed it has all but vanished. Neither the Maserati Party nor the Welsh Dragon Party are in a position to help at all.
If you wanted to join a mass membership movement to campaign for real Brexit and to hear the thoughts of a quality Brexit, (not mere coment) what would you join? Whose meetings would you attend? Whose books could you read? If you were Theresa May, who would you consult? Who would organise you in taking democratic control of the Conservative Party and selection of candidates? Who would organise you into demonstrations or strikes?
We are a political opinion that has been left without organisation. And with no organisation we cannot take back control.
This is a dark picture I am painting but you see the problem: we have become observers of the Brexit process and not the drivers of it. We described a referendum result as an instruction to the state and imagined that those required to surrender power would do so. We have handed responsibility for our future to be negotiated in Brussels by some weepy devotchka.
And we have blamed her and not ourselves for the helpnessnes of her situation.
When we see that we have no Brexit we will be left complaining that it is not fair because we won a referendum. If we do not organise to enforce our will, it will be entirely our own fault.