Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

European Referendum: A Carnival of Reaction.

with 21 comments

One-Man Carnival of Reaction.

Scenes from British Political Confusionism.

“How different too it is turning out from what some predicted would be a ‘carnival of reaction’ ahead of the Euro referendum.”

Counterfire. April 2016.

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, claims that Barack Obama’s “part Kenyan ancestry” has resulted in anti-British sentiment. So intense is this dislike that the US President removed a bust of Winston Churchill from the Oval Office. This slight on the Manes of Albion was compounded by the President’s support for the European Union. The EU, it appears, makes 60% of our laws. Bludgeoning home the Brexiter message, Johnson complained that America would never dream of sharing its sovereignty over anything.” (Guardian. 23.4.16)

Sovereigntism, the belief that all went wrong when Parliament pooled its decision-making powers in areas related to the single market, is an ideology shared by Tories in the Leave campaign, and a large part (if anything in this alliance could be called ‘large’) of the ‘left’ quit camp, Lexit. For UKIP and the rest of the hard right, making the running in the referendum debate, hysteria about migration and about such as topics as Obama’s ungrateful memories of British rule in Africa, is mobilised to gain backing for this principle. Left efforts to “keep racism out of the Referendum”,  notably from those who underline the principle of sovereignty, have had no effect whatsoever.

The ‘left’ case is obscured by the suggestion, voiced by Counterfire,  the “Tories crisis is our opportunity”. That the removal of Cameron by a victorious vote in the poll will result in opportunities, apparently not just for Johnson and his allies, but also for the labour movement most of which, and not least the Leader of the Labour Party, supports the Stay side. It is to be suspected that the latest Boris outburst has left a nasty taste in many people’s mouths. So, if it has weakened the Leave camp, is the converse true: that a Stay win will mean a defeat for the left, including the vast majority which advocates it?

Complaints about EU ‘neo-liberalism’ remain rhetoric unless there is a basis for policy. The anti-EU left believes that increased control over national decision-making power will enable a fight against capitalist globalisation. How exactly the UK will detach itself from global capital flows, financial markets, on the basis of rule by Westminster, perhaps split with Holyrood, is hard to grasp.

If the Lexiters propose regulation to control markets and capital then surely a large area, let’s call it Europe, is a better place to begin with. If they propose socialisation then what could be more ‘social’ than a number of different societies getting together, from places, let’s call them the Continent and its adjacent Islands, to form an economic bloc sufficiently large to stand up to international markets and capital? If they wish to remain internationalists then what better place to begin to practice inter-country and cross national solidarity then with the people next door to this one? If they wish political co-operation, well we can co-operate in a common organisation, Since it would begin with Europe, the first part of its name is obvious, and, perhaps, as we are on the left, the next bit, a Union, comes naturally.

Imagine that the left is on the road to power in Britain. The prospect of a way out of neo-liberal capitalism, helped by the “rising wave of protest”, “growing struggles” (Counterfire) is on the horizon. Fantastic! Until the next Brexit outburst…..


21 Responses

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  1. The Brexiters’ hysterical reaction to Obama’s intervention proves that they are not only anti-Europe: they’re anti-American as well! They’re true isolationists.Jonathan Freedland takes them apart brilliantly in today’s Graun:


    Jim Denham

    April 23, 2016 at 10:48 am

  2. Not got round to reading that yet Jim. I was struck by the clown Johnson’s frankly vile suggestion that the dignified Obama has some kind of race resentment against Britain and its Patron Saint, Churchill.

    Who is, as we all know, not a Patron Saint without blemish for those who recall the General Strike – as both set of my grandparents did.

    Andrew Coates

    April 23, 2016 at 11:00 am

  3. Nick Cohen back on vintage form at the Spectator:


    Now, I wish I’d written that!

    Jim Denham

    April 23, 2016 at 11:01 am

  4. When I posted Cohen’s piece on Facebook some surprising people signaled ‘like’

    Andrew Coates

    April 23, 2016 at 11:05 am

  5. “Imagine that the left is on the road to power in Britain”
    But it isn’t, and it never will be. British people are cruel and mean, and in a very specific way – they love money, and hate poor people and foreigners. The Euro referendum is basically a referendum on whether they love money more than they hate foreigners.. It’ll be a tight thing… but the Left have nothing to do with it; they’re a sideshow.

    I repeat: The Left is not relevant, and it will not be relevant until the current generation of idiots, haters, Stalinists, Islamists and other carnival attractions are safely dead of old age, their ideas forgotten and discarded on the old ash heap of history. It won’t happen in my lifetime or yours since a lot of people much younger than us will have to get old and die first.

  6. For a good sense of the braggadocio of the current brexit and lexit camps, go to BBC Radio 4 iplayer for Friday night’s Any Questions with Nigel Farrago and his little helper Mickle Cash. As it was coming from East Kent the niglet had managed to get a sizeable chunk into the audience.

    David Walsh

    April 23, 2016 at 12:50 pm

  7. I began listening to the repeat at lunch-time today.

    AS you suggest NIgel was beyond gobshite.

    Andrew Coates

    April 23, 2016 at 4:43 pm

  8. […] via European Referendum: A Carnival of Reaction. — Tendance Coatesy […]

  9. carnival of reaction? Oh come on.
    The working class is against the EUSSR/Fourth Reich unelected bureaucratic superstate.
    If Obama is for the EU, that’s a good reason to be against it.
    as for the pro zionist pro imperialist pro EU nick cohen and jonathan freedland, well, they are the real extremists.

    George Galloway stands in the tradition of Tony Benn and Michael Foot, he should be the leader of the Labour Party!


    April 23, 2016 at 8:14 pm

  10. Dean

    April 23, 2016 at 9:39 pm

  11. why does the establishment hate Galloway? Evidence of bias in the run up to mayoral election.


    April 23, 2016 at 9:43 pm

  12. Dean

    April 23, 2016 at 9:52 pm

  13. Michael Deacon writes:

    Poor George Galloway. He’s had a rotten week. First, he learnt from YouGov that, in the race to become Mayor of London, he’s currently polling at a disappointing zero per cent.

    He could console himself, I suppose, by remembering that the margin of error in the given sample size is three per cent – so he may actually be on a more respectable three. Although, by the same token, he may equally well be on minus three.

    On Thursday evening, however, he received some even worse news. An old friend had died.


    I must confess, I had no idea that Mr Galloway had been friends with the Grammy-winning composer of Purple Rain, 1999 and When Doves Cry. The first I heard of it was when Mr Galloway revealed it on Twitter on Thursday night. “I am distressed to hear of the death of Prince, whom I knew briefly,” he announced.

    A follower asked how he’d known him. “I hung out with him a bit 25 years ago,” replied Mr Galloway casually.

    What a remarkable image. George Galloway, and one of the most famous pop singers on Earth, meeting up for a coffee, shooting the breeze, chatting pleasantly about this and that (favourite funk basslines, say, or the sad collapse of the Soviet Union). A heartwarming thought.

    And yet, at the same time, a puzzling one. Twenty-five years ago, Mr Galloway was a backbench Labour MP for Glasgow Hillhead, so where exactly he and the reclusive Minneapolis-based megastar hung out remains uncertain. Sadly, I am unable to shed light on this conundrum, as I have not yet succeeded in locating any photographs of the two friends together.

    This is not to suggest that I doubt the word of Mr Galloway. I do wonder, though, whether there might perhaps have been some kind of innocent mix-up.

    Is there a possibility, for example, that he has confused Prince with Saddam Hussein?

    Picture it. It’s the mid 1990s. Mr Galloway, a devoted fan of The Most Beautiful Girl in the World and Lovesexy, has booked a trip to the US to see his idol in concert. Yet, after accidentally heading to the wrong departure gate, he boards a flight not to Boston, but to Baghdad.

    He lands at Baghdad airport. The weather seems startlingly warm; but then, to a Scotsman, everywhere seems startlingly warm. He approaches the taxi rank, and excitedly tells the driver he’s here to see Prince.

    Unfortunately, the driver, having little English, misunderstands – and drives Mr Galloway to the palace.

    They arrive. “Here!” announces the driver. “Big house of princes!”

    Mr Galloway gazes in delighted awe at his opulent surroundings. The outrageous grandeur! The dazzling chandeliers! The solid gold lavatories!

    Yes, this is exactly the sort of place one would expect a multi-millionaire eccentric like Prince to live.

    “Mr Galloway merely wanted to show support to a musical idol in his contractual battle with Warner Brothers”

    Suddenly, striding importantly towards him, comes a handsome, stylishly moustached figure clad in military uniform, offset by a chic black beret.

    Classic Prince! The ultimate pop chameleon! Always changing his look to stay one step ahead of the crowd!

    Gratefully Mr Galloway extends his hand. “Sir!” he cries. “I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability!”

    For years, Mr Galloway’s political opponents have misinterpreted this remark as servility to a mass-murdering tyrant. The truth is entirely innocent. He merely intended to show support to a musical idol in his long-running contractual battle with Warner Brothers.

    Anyway: after that, Mr Galloway and his hero found that they got on very well – although, as the London mayoral candidate acknowledged on Twitter, the two men knew each other only briefly. Indeed, I gather that, for the last decade or more, his hero had proven impossible to make contact with.

    When you look at it like that, it all starts to make sense. I think one or two people owe Mr Galloway an apology.

    Jim Denham

    April 23, 2016 at 11:11 pm

  14. I am not an unqualified admirer of the EU. Its future is far from certain, but I am increasingly certain of what Brexit would look like. Politics would tilt to the right, xenophobia would become rampant, and those bureaucratic trammels upon our entrepreneurs from doing what they like in the workplace would be ditched. Bye bye Working Time Directive, TUPE, enhanced maternity leave and holiday entitlements, and the vestigial protection the EU afforded to those on zero hour contracts. What Johnson and Farage say now will be far worse in a post exit period.


    April 24, 2016 at 10:18 am

  15. I am surprised that his Lordship Tariq Ali has not treated us, as is customary on these occasions, to his own reminiscences of taking tea fellow noble, Prince.

    Andrew Coates

    April 24, 2016 at 10:43 am

  16. Galloway and prince is no more unlikely than prince dancing with naga mana cherry.

    Sue r

    April 24, 2016 at 11:51 am

  17. Sorry about the spelling errors in above. I meant nana manachetty

    Sue r

    April 24, 2016 at 11:52 am

  18. My bad. Third time lucky. Naga manachetty

    Sue r

    April 24, 2016 at 11:54 am

  19. Oh dear. I do remember a VSC gig (as it wouldn’t have been called then) in 1968 at the Roundhouse, compered by Tariq in a silver lame suit no less, introducing Fleetwood Mac. What FM made oF Tariq, and vice versa, is hard to say through the mists of tme

    David Walsh

    April 24, 2016 at 12:08 pm

  20. Massive boost for Leave campaigners, from Official Campaign to Lexit..

    Andrew Coates

    April 24, 2016 at 12:42 pm

  21. David, you can remember anything at the Roundhouse?

    Obviously, like me, and indeed, Sue, you were there!

    Andrew Coates

    April 24, 2016 at 12:44 pm

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