To say we have come out of one of the most toxic weeks in british politics in a long time, would be an understatement. On Thursday there is a referendum to decide if Britain should leave the EU, which has been about anything but the EU. To read the political press you would believe the UK was torn between Remain or Leave. A referendum with huge consequences for the UK’s political and economic future: tossed like a bone to prevent a few defections to a minor party with no sustainable support.
The threat of UKIP was never the threat of their electoral success. The British public have consistently rejected that politics. The BNP dissolved, EDL had to use mainstream political rhetoric and relied entirely on media attention given to them by the Westminster media and the elite left, and UKIP were never a threat.
The most UKIP could have enjoyed was one or two victories at the General Election, and they are entirely sustained by European elections people pay little attention to. The referendum was called to manage the risk of one or two defections from the Conservative Party to a party who are a non entity and enjoy a very stable but very low level of public support. A decision with huge long term consequences thrown as a bone to deal with nothing.
With no reason to call this referendum, no treaty change to discuss, no decision to make, this referendum has been turned into a referendum on popular fascism. In the words of Iain Martin, ‘immigration was deployed’, the dogwhistles were brought out and Westminster again orbited the politics of hate. A politics the decent and intelligent British public repeatedly and consistently reject.
If you read the Guardian and the New Statesman in the past few weeks, you would believe the north of England was in the midst of a popular movement to leave the EU. John Harris went seeking support for this, and in a video where even his solid leave voters struggled to show enthusiasm, an image was created of an amorphous working class in the grips of a rising tide of hate demanding popular fascism. Owen Jones obliged as he explained the working class he has never met but makes his living on are getting ‘Brexity’, and some very odd polling has shown evidence of the type of surge that characterised Scotland during the Independence Referendum. Only there is no evidence of this. Anywhere. Not a single tangible piece of evidence to support this.
I have spent weeks looking for evidence of this surge. I spent yesterday and the day before in Stockport, there were no posters in windows. The only rallies and debates have been staged photo-opps by funded campaigns. Remain campaigners and Leave campaigners stand isolated in shopping centres as we all try to ignore what is revealed by this referendum. There is no evidence of this surge in the towns surrounding where I live. The racist stupid working class that the Guardian needs to justify its position, do not exist. Nor is a surge to Leave the EU. I have obsessively asked every person I have met for weeks and the only universal feeling is that this referendum has exposed the worst of our political system.
I have seen reasoned discussion of the benefits of EU membership. I have seen almost universal exasperation that yet again a Westminster media culture have taken this country to the brink. I have seen horror and disgust at the tactics used to whip up hatred, and revulsion at the smug construction of a stupid working class, by a centre left culture who loathe us. I have seen ZERO evidence of a strong support for leaving the EU and zero evidence of support for the Remain campaign.
We need to discuss Katy Hopkins and Nigel Farage and who creates them, who benefits from their existence, and how they gain traction. Katie Hopkins is a product of the left wing outrage business model. Entirely. Her views are desirable for the centre left, who like Owen Jones, need to construct a racist and stupid white, male, working class, to base their ambitions on. It’s fine for Owen and his friends to base their livings on an invented version of the working class they disenfranchise, but when the politics of hate becomes real, its our communities and children that pay.
This white, racist, stupid working class are a construction of left and right politics run by twitterrage and newspaper headlines. Increasingly you can see they are a fantasy in a chatroom used by those with media ambition. They are a construction that suits many people. It is in the interests of Owen Jones and John Harris and Laurie Penny, to tell you there is a rising tide of hate in this country. That we urgently need the centre left to protect us from a white, racist, working class. It is in their interests for the Katie Hopkins business model of whipping up fascism to exist. The symbiosis of left and right powered by twitter is pushing us towards ever more extreme politics. But the fact remains that neither the swivel eyed right nor the far left and centre left have any public support. They both exist on the fringes of a media culture who maintained their grip on political media by newspaper, and now whip up hate on the internet to hide that their institutions are in crisis. They spend their time arguing about which dogwhistles to use, while we pay the price. Whether that be emboldened fascist groups who have been rejected, or in having our ability to fight austerity removed as the centre left use the entire Labour machinery to erase consensus on it.
We need to take our country back. We can’t have this any more.
On Thursday an educated, decent, and intelligent British public will send a message to these people. A message they will all refuse to hear. It’s not enough to deal with Katie Hopkins. Its not enough to deal with the Daily Mail. We need to discuss the entire political media, and ask why they so desperately need a white, male, racist working class, to base their bullshit on. And why they have so little understanding of a complex 21st century society and economy, that this is the narrative they are selling.
Am not in the Remain camp, am certainly not in the Leave camp. I will vote to remain in the EU on Thursday because this was never a debate about the EU. This is the most reckless political and economic act I have seen in my lifetime and when it is all done we need to take our country back.