As I speak in the UK we have no stable Westminster government. Jeremy Corbyn is seeing his Shadow Cabinet fall apart around him and looks increasingly like he won’t last the week so we have no stable opposition in Westminster. The EU want us gone, but Nicola Sturgeon is speaking to EU officials and leaders this week as a poll puts support for Scottish independence at a staggering 59%. Reports of racist attacks across England specifically are seemingly too many to take in as they all seem to be in the wake of the Brexit vote. There are worries when the world markets open in the morning with the Tokyo Stock Exchange who saw an 8% fall on Friday. The Cornish Pasty is also under threat which you may laugh at, but this is serious.
Corbyn’s position is the big story of today though. He’s under siege and frankly, I’ll be astonished if he’s seen as a credible leader by the electorate after this. Sure, his followers will support him and he may cling onto being defeated in a general election but Corbyn’s had an appalling referendum campaign as this splendid article outlines. I watched his Sky News EU Referendum debate and it’s worth looking back at it now in hindsight only six days later. He’s very good at speaking to his core, but he’s lost when he’s not. However I don’t lay all the blame at Corbyn’s feet for the failure of Labour to keep the working class outwith of big English cities onside. That blame can be traced back to Neil Kinnock who started splitting the party, but the real blame lies squarely at Tony Blair’s feet and while Corbyn’s just crap, Blair changed things for the former industrial working class to the point where their voice wasn’t heard by Labour. They took them for granted.
This Guardian article on Leave voters is very good. It’s worth reading and paying attention to. These aren’t racists or ‘chavs’ (the pejorative its fine for the English middle class left to use against the English working class) but ordinary people who have been ignored. And yet, this weekend friends of mine are sharing this petition to have a second referendum which if ever recognised (it won’t be, but stick with me a second) means the middle class voice is treated with more weight than the working class voice. Now there’s already racists on the street beating people up. They were always going to be empowered but if you anger the working classes who have been ignored, insulted and patronised and there isn’t a progressive party coming into to fill the void as there was with the SNP in Scotland and to a vastly lesser extent Plaid Cymru in Wales, where do you think these people will end up being forced towards as a further protest vote?
So I get the anger, but I’m done with a vast chunk of the English left who are spending today ripping themselves apart instead of leading. You should be reaching towards the people who voted leave who are concerned about jobs, housing and yes, immigration. Make the case, go speak to them, not on Twitter, but face-to-face. Arrange food bank drives. Show you actually give a fuck. Don’t sit there sneering. Do something productive with all that energy.
Yet, all I see today is sneering, recriminations, fear and loathing. This is not going to be solved with sneering and frankly, insultingly undemocratic petitions and people adopting moral superiority when if Remain had won and Leave had done this they’d be mocking them for it.
England is split. It is now a darker place not just for immigrants outwith the UK, but outwith of England and that includes me, a Scot who has lived in England for 28 years. I can of course go back to Scotland where at worst, there’s at least a lair of insulation and as regular readers of this blog know, this is happening but is on hold due to me currently having cancer. But nothing is going to be solved by making people often ignored even more marginalised and rightfully dismissive of a great swathe of the middle class left in England. Your only choice is to get out there and make the alternative argument or you hand the dominant politics in England to the right, even the far right, for a generation at least and you know what, you’ll be partly to blame.