Kevin Ovenden – now with Counterfire – on the Actuality of the Brexit Revolution.
Brexit: new poll provides evidence for the Brexit left‘s strategy.
Writes Kevin Ovenden for Counterfire.
(Note some of the wording has been, in the interests of clarity, abbreviated)
- Just 22 percent of people are in favour of ignoring the referendum outcome or holding a second one and blocking the Brexit process.
- Brexit is the top issue both for those who voted Leave and for Remain.
- While there is clearly an urgent need to develop campaigning and struggles against the government on a range of issues (the health service and housing stand out, alongside racism and xenophobia), strategically and politically for the left and labour movement the question of Brexit cannot be evaded. NOTE: Ovenden sees no link between these issues and the Brexit he backs.
- support for carrying through the referendum result is overwhelming.
- That is terrain upon which the labour movement can provide a credible and radical alternative to the Tory Brexit.
- When people are asked to choose between reducing immigration or doing what is best for the British economy (with the two counterposed) – 65 percent choose what’s best for the economy and 35 percent to reduce immigration. Among Leave voters, the figures are 44 percent and 56 percent.
That shows the greater salience of the anti-immigration argument among Leave voters. But still 44 percent of them would choose to prioritise the economy over reducing immigration.
So people prefer the economy, and will let immigration remain in second place.
They are merely second preference racists.
Ovenden dialectically deduces from these figures the following (and I have omitted no intermediate stage).
In a choice between Britain controlling its own laws and British companies having access to other markets, the figures are 62 percent for controlling laws and 38 percent prioritising companies’ market access.
Taken together these support a strategy for the left on these questions which is 1) for an economy which is geared to people, not to companies, 2) on that basis (as well as others) challenging the anti-immigration arguments, and 3) firmly rooted in an expanded notion of popular democracy.
I will, ignore the idea of an “economy geared to people”, since in the realm of cliches and meaningless assertions this has few rivals.
Instead we might ask: what exactly that expanded notion of “popular democracy” (no doubt opposed to unpopular demcoracy) is, we leave it to theorists to discover.
People believe there should be Brexit. They think it is the democratic thing to do. They have no confidence in the government’s handling of it. They are uncertain about the outcomes or what it should look like. When forced to choose, they will put economic well-being above anti-immigration propaganda and some notion of democracy and self-rule above the global fortunes of British companies.
Again ‘economic well-being’ is no doubt counterposed to economic ill-being.
As for the “democratic thing to do” and “self-rule”, does this mean, a decision-fired parliament, greater assertiveness fnational sovereignty, backing a populist party to carry out their wishes? Or – simply urging the Tories to get on with it.
He seems to think, nevertheless, that because many people want Brexit, that the Tories are finding it hard to get through the legislative process – he does not even bother mentioning negotiations with the European Union – they will turn to something different, something that the left might favour, an “expanded notion of popular democracy”.
Expanded into what?
New forms of law-making, Web democracy, consensus decision-making, voting by hand-signals, demonstrations, occupations, or perhaps…. soviets…..
Ovenden fails to elaborate.
On this he is sure.
In that context, there are good grounds for the left counterposing our Brexit to the Tories’.
Next stop… the People’s Brexit writes Lindsey German.